May 16th, 2018

Countdown to the Summit


UNTIL MAY 16, 2018

Why Inclusive Entrepreneurship?

To continue economic growth and combat issues of economic disparity, all communities should have access to a full range of resources that help grow and scale local ventures. Entrepreneurship provides a way to create jobs and provide disruptive innovation in communities that need it the most. We seek to create a more level playing field by supporting entrepreneurs from all backgrounds.

$3 Million
What is the Blackstone Inclusive Entrepreneurship Challenge?

The Blackstone Challenge provides grant funding to innovative organizations that effectively recruit and support diverse entrepreneurs and scale startups in the Chicago area. The eight members of the inaugural Blackstone Challenge cohort are non-profit organizations that support underserved entrepreneur populations, including communities of color, women, veterans, and immigrants. The inaugural Blackstone Challenge will award up to $3 million in grant funding over the next 3 years.

Meet the Inaugural Cohort
Jon Gray, President and COO of Blackstone

"I am thrilled that the Blackstone Charitable Foundation is launching its first inclusive entrepreneurship program in my hometown. We hope that this program will serve as a model for other cities seeking to increase support and opportunities for entrepreneurs from all communities."

Alya Adamany Woods
Executive Director, ChicagoNEXT, World Business Chicago
Alya Adamany Woods is the Executive Director of ChicagoNEXT, World Business Chicago’s dedicated effort to drive growth and opportunity for Chicago’s tech economy. Governed by a council of technology leaders, ChicagoNEXT strategic focus areas include capital, talent, industry and community and her portfolio of programs includes the Chicago Venture Summit, ThinkChicago, and the Blackstone Inclusive Entrepreneurship Challenge. Prior to her role at World Business Chicago, Alya was the Managing Director for Innovation Initiatives at the Illinois Science & Technology Coalition (ISTC), a statewide advocacy group dedicated to cultivating technology-based economic development in Illinois. She co-founded and managed the ISTC’s award-winning Corporate-Startup Challenge, a program designed to create a bridge between major corporations and startup and emerging growth technology firms. She was also the co-creator of the Illinois Innovation Index, a monthly publication developed in conjunction with World Business Chicago to benchmark the city and state’s ability to attract capital, create and retain talent and business, and drive dynamic technologies. Prior to that, Woods worked for the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, where she most recently served as the Assistant Director for studies, and prior to that as the Interim Director for the Global Midwest Initiative. There, she tackled global policy issues including energy, immigration, and agriculture. Alya received her bachelor’s degree in political science from Yale University and a master’s degree in international relations from the University of Chicago. She has lived in Chicago since 2002 and currently resides in Logan Square with her family.
Amy Stursberg
Executive Director, Blackstone Charitable Foundation
Amy Stursberg is a Senior Managing Director at Blackstone. She serves as Executive Director of the Blackstone Charitable Foundation, where she leads Blackstone’s $45 million Entrepreneurship Initiative, bringing four innovative programs to twenty states across the country. Prior to joining Blackstone in 2008, Ms. Stursberg served on the transition team for Governor Eliot Spitzer. From 2006-08, Ms. Stursberg managed the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation’s $90 million program in cultural and in community grants in Lower Manhattan. Previously, Ms. Stursberg served as the final Director of the September 11th Fund. There, she helped to manage the $500 million fund to support communities, individuals and organizations impacted by the events of 9/11. Prior to that role, she held various positions at the Office of the Mayor in the City of New York, as well as at the Department of Health and Human Services in Washington, D.C. Ms. Stursberg received her BA with honors from the University of Michigan and her Master’s in Public Policy from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. Currently, she serves on the Partnership for New York’s Innovation Council and on the Board of Directors for the Tectonic Theater Company; formerly, she served on the National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship (NACIE).
Andrea Zopp
President & CEO, World Business Chicago
Andrea Zopp is the President and CEO of World Business Chicago, where she leads the organization’s mission of inclusive economic growth, supporting businesses, and promoting Chicago as a leading global city. Most recently, she served as Deputy Mayor, Chief Neighborhood Development Officer for the City of Chicago. Andrea has dedicated her career to being a force of change. She has championed job creation, access to education, corporate responsibility and promoting economic development initiatives in underserved communities. Andrea served in the United States Attorney’s Office and was the first woman and African American to serve as the First Assistant in the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office. In these roles, she fought to keep neighborhoods safe by taking on illegal guns, violent crime and gangs, worked to protect victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse. Andrea is a successful businesswoman and has held executive leadership positions at several Fortune 500 companies, including Sara Lee, Sears Holdings and Exelon. As the former President and CEO of the Chicago Urban League, she led the nationally-recognized organization’s focus on expanding economic opportunity in underserved communities, helping youth and young adults achieve academic and career success, and advocacy for social justice. Andrea has held multiple civic and business appointments. She was appointed to the Chicago Board of Education by Mayor Rahm Emanuel and to the Cook County Health and Hospital System Board by Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle. Andrea also currently serves on the board of the Urban Partnership Bank. Andrea Zopp is a graduate of Harvard College and Law School. She lives on Chicago’s South side with her husband Bill. They are the proud parents of Alyssa, Kelsey, and Will and the proud owners of three cats and three dogs.
Arne Duncan
Managing Partner, Emerson Collective
As managing partner at Emerson Collective, former U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan returns to Chicago on a mission to improve the lives of young adults in his hometown. Through partnerships with local business leaders, community organizers, and nonprofit groups, Duncan aims to create job and life opportunities for disconnected youth between the ages of 17 and 24. Emerson Collective is an organization dedicated to removing barriers to opportunity so people can live to their full potential. Established by Laurene Powell Jobs, Emerson Collective centers its work on education, immigration reform, the environment and other social justice initiatives. Prior to joining the Obama Administration, Duncan served as chief executive officer of Chicago Public Schools. From 2001 to 2008, Duncan won praise for uniting the city’s stakeholders behind an education agenda that included opening 100 new schools; expanding after-school, summer learning, early childhood, and college access programs; dramatically boosting the caliber of teachers; and building public-private partnerships around a variety of education initiatives. Duncan graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University in 1987, majoring in sociology. At Harvard he served as co-captain of the basketball team and was named a first team Academic All-American. Arne serves on the boards of: Ariel Capital Management, Aspen Institute, Communities in Schools, Lucas Museum, My Brother’s Keeper Alliance, National Association of Basketball Coaches, Pluralsight, Revolution Foods, Thrive-Chicago and Turn It In. He also serves as Co-chair of the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics.
Bernita Johnson-Gabriel
Executive Vice President of Neighborhood and Strategic Initiatives, World Business Chicago
Bernita Johnson-Gabriel joined World Business Chicago in February 2018 as Executive Vice President for Neighborhoods and Strategic Initiatives, responsible for leading the organization’s efforts to support economic growth and job creation for Chicago’s neighborhoods. She brings nearly 15 years of development experience to WBC, most recently as senior advisor for neighborhood development and housing for Mayor Rahm Emanuel. While serving with the Office of the Mayor, Johnson-Gabriel led several targeted economic development projects and neighborhood revitalization efforts to generate clear and impactful outcomes for communities on Chicago’s south and west sides. She also expanded the city’s development lens to include residential, transportation, infrastructure and other development data for a more holistic approach to neighborhood growth. Previously, Johnson-Gabriel served as executive director of the Quad Communities Development Corporation (QCDC), a neighborhood development organization serving Chicago’s south lakefront communities of North Kenwood, Oakland, Douglas and Grand Boulevard.  During her 12 years with QCDC, Johnson-Gabriel directed the creation of a 10-year Quality of Life plan adopted by community residents, the Fourth Ward Alderman and the Mayor’s Office. She built and maintained a coalition of approximately 40 organizations and businesses to implement quality of life projects and programs. She also led several strategic neighborhood development programs and efforts, including the Shops and Lofts Neighborhood Walmart and the Ellis Park Arts and Recreation Center, opened in 2016. Originally from Bethel, North Carolina, Johnson-Gabriel holds a bachelor’s degree in marketing from Hampton University and is a graduate of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Program, which helps entrepreneurs create jobs and economic opportunity. She also serves on the board of directors for the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC-Chicago).
Charlie Corrigan
Vice President, JPMorgan Chase Foundation
In his role at the JPMorgan Chase Foundation, Charlie Corrigan’s responsibilities include managing grantmaking activities in Chicago and Wisconsin related to the firm’s mission of supporting economic opportunity and creating more widely-shared prosperity. The four key priority areas for this approach include: Workforce Readiness, Small Business Expansion, Financial Capability, and Neighborhood Revitalization. In addition to his regional responsibilities, Charlie has a national role as part of the PRO Neighborhoods program providing competitive grants to CDFI collaborations across the US. Prior to joining JPMC in 2010, Charlie led programs and research activities at nonprofit organizations focused on affordable housing and homeless services, including Building Changes and the Corporation for Supportive Housing. He is a graduate of Georgetown University, University of Chicago, and the Leadership Greater Chicago fellows program.
Don Thompson
CEO and Founder, Cleveland Avenue
Don Thompson is the Founder and CEO of Cleveland Avenue and the former President and CEO of McDonald’s Corporation. Retiring in 2015 after a 25-year career with the Golden Arches, Thompson and his wife Liz formed Cleveland Avenue, LLC and the Cleveland Avenue Foundation for Education (The CAFÉ). Bringing together global restaurant expertise, a passion for consumer innovation, and a deep respect for entrepreneurs, Thompson and the Cleveland Avenue team are investing in and accelerating the growth of emerging restaurant and food and beverage brands. Constantly giving back, Thompson is a member of numerous civic and community organizations throughout the city of Chicago. He is a member of the Executive Leadership Council, the Commercial and Economic Clubs of Chicago, Business Council, World Business Chicago and the Arthur M. Brazier Foundation. He serves as a Trustee on the boards of the Cleveland Avenue Foundation for Education, Northwestern Memorial Hospital and Purdue University. Thompson also serves on the boards of The Northern Trust Corporation, Royal Caribbean Cruises Limited, Beyond Meat and as an Advisory Board member of DocuSign, Inc. Thompson previously served as a Director on the Exelon Board from 2006-2012 and the McDonald’s Corporation Board from 2011-2015. Thompson received a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Purdue University and an Honorary Doctorate degree in Science from Excelsior College.
Evelyn J. Diaz
President, Heartland Alliance for Human Needs & Human Rights
As President of Heartland Alliance, Evelyn Diaz leads a global anti-poverty and human rights organization based in Chicago that provides a comprehensive array of services to nearly half a million people annually in the areas of healthcare, housing, human services and justice. She is responsible for directing domestic and global strategy and operations for Heartland Alliance’s five nonprofit corporate entities, with a combined budget of $150 million and 1,600 employees in 12 countries. Previously, Ms. Diaz was appointed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel to lead the City of Chicago’s Department of Family and Support Services where she was responsible for administering an annual budget of $330 million to deliver social service programs to over 300,000 Chicagoans in the areas of children, youth, homelessness, domestic violence, aging, workforce development and human services. Before joining Mayor Emanuel’s cabinet, Ms. Diaz was Deputy Chief of Staff to former Mayor Richard M. Daley, coordinating the City’s human capital departments and overseeing initiatives related to poverty, jobs, and economic security. She was later appointed by Mayor Daley as chief executive officer of the Chicago Workforce Investment Council, which was charged with addressing labor market shortages in key industries through a data-driven collective impact model. Prior to working in the government sector, Ms. Diaz was Associate Director of the Chicago Jobs Council where she coordinated Opportunity Chicago, a $23 million initiative to assist thousands of public housing residents gain employment. She has also worked as a direct practitioner providing individual and group counseling to domestic violence victims; managing programs for homeless women in shelter; and coordinating economic development initiatives and social service projects in Chicago's 46th Ward. Ms. Diaz received her graduate degree from the University of Chicago’s School of Social Service Administration and her undergraduate degree from the University of Notre Dame. She was named Social Worker of the Year in 2014 by the National Association of Social Workers’ Illinois and Chicago chapters. She was a Chicago Council on Global Affairs Emerging Leader.
Jimmy Odom
Director of Inclusive Entrepreneurship, ChicagoNEXT, World Business Chicago
Jimmy Odom was the former Acting Assistant Director for the Department of Central Management Services of the State of Illinois. Previously, he also served Senior Advisor of Minority Business Development for the Illinois Department of Commerce (September 2015). In his roles at the State of Illinois, Jimmy works with minority communities throughout the state to help create, develop, and grow entrepreneurs. Before joining the State of Illinois, Jimmy founded WeDeliver Inc., the largest hyper-local logistics service in Chicago. As CEO, Jimmy created, communicated, and implemented the vision, mission, and corporate direction of the company. By engaging the Board of Directors and advisors, Jimmy formulated and executed the organization’s strategic plan, and he regularly examined the competitive landscape for growth opportunities. Prior to launching WeDeliver, Jimmy worked at Apple Inc. as the Head of Customer Experience for the Midwest Region. At Apple, Jimmy developed, coached, and mentored over 450 Apple Brand Specialists, who contributed over $100 Million in sales and maintained top revenue and sales performances across Apple retail worldwide for three consecutive quarters. Jimmy is a celebrated leader in the state’s entrepreneurial community, and his recognitions include the IBM North America’s Most Innovative Company Award, the Chicago Urban League Innovator Award, Crain’s Business Chicago’s 50 Most Influential People list, and the Moxie Award for Best Founder in Chicago.
Joseph Parilla
Fellow - Metropolitan Policy Program, Brookings Institution
Joseph Parilla is a fellow at the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program where he conducts research on the trends and policies that shape economic performance in cities and regions in the United States and across the world. As the lead scholar on the program’s Global Cities Initiative, Joseph has conducted numerous studies of regional economic conditions, including metro-level trade, productivity, and competitiveness assessments. More recently, Joseph has led projects to economic development policy and practice in U.S. cities and regions, including helping lead Brookings’ Inclusive Economic Development Lab and directing a unique analysis on how economic development incentives align with principles of inclusive growth in four U.S. cities. Prior to his work at Brookings, Joseph was a research associate in the Urban Institute’s Metropolitan Housing and Communities center, where he focused on housing and urban policy. He holds degrees in public policy from Georgetown’s McCourt School of Public Policy and economics and geography from Macalester College.
Julia Stasch
President, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
Julia Stasch is President of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, one of the nation’s largest philanthropies with assets of more than $6.3 billion, and offices in Chicago, Mexico City, New Delhi, and Abuja, Nigeria. With a broad background of leadership in the business, governmental, and philanthropic sectors, she has served as the Foundation’s President since July 2016. Stasch joined the Foundation in 2001 as Vice President for US Programs, responsible for major work in the United States, including strategies related to justice, housing, education, community and economic development, and social and economic policy. Stasch is a member of the Commercial Club of Chicago, the Economic Club, and The Chicago Network. She is a summa cum laude graduate of Loyola University, and holds a master's degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Mark Tebbe
Chair, ChicagoNEXT, World Business Chicago
Mark Tebbe is the Chair of ChicagoNEXT, World Business Chicago’s dedicated effort to drive growth and opportunity for Chicago’s tech economy. Mark has entrepreneurial experience including the founding of two NASDAQ-listed corporations as well as direct involvement in numerous start-up and high-growth companies over the past 30 years. As an Adjunct Professor of Entrepreneurship at the Chicago Booth School of Business, Mark instructs students in the creation and growth of entrepreneurial businesses; while In his Entrepreneur in Residence role at the University of Chicago, Mark aids students in their entrepreneurial roles as well as helping professors enhance the technical reality for their classes. Prior to his University of Chicago role, Mark was also a founder and the vice chairman of Answers Corporation (NASDAQ:ANSW), which created one of the first and most authoritative public websites. Mark was also the founder and chairman of Lante Corporation, which he grew from a two-person firm in 1984 to an 1300-employee NASDAQ-listed international corporation that was acquired by SBI Group in 2002. Over the years, Mark has been a consultant to executive management of many leading companies including American Express, Dell and Microsoft as well as non-profit organizations such as National Park Service, United Nations and World Economic Forum. Mark is a recognized and published industry expert on emerging technologies whose insights have appeared in leading national publications including BusinessWeek, Fortune and The Wall Street Journal. Mark is a Henry Crown Fellow at the Aspen Institute focusing on fostering values-based leadership and open-minded dialogue. In light to his service to the University of Illinois, the alma mater of his B.S. in Computer Science/ Engineering degree, Mark was honored with the Chicago Illini of the Year Award as well as the national Alumni Honor Award for Distinguished Service. He also supports numerous children-oriented, educational and environmental causes.
Nadia Quarles
Assistant Vice President of Business Diversity, University of Chicago
Nadia M. Quarles, is the Assistant Vice President for Business Diversity at the University of Chicago where she's responsible for implementing procedures throughout the University to help increase the University’s contractual relationships with qualified minority and women-owned businesses. Nadia also collaborates with local and national business leaders, executives and organizations to ensure that the University has access to the most diverse talent in the marketplace. Nadia advises University leadership on effective strategies to partner with alumni, civic leaders and elected officials in support of the University’s commitment to business diversity and inclusion. Nadia is a member of the Obama Foundation Inclusion Council, charged with ensuring that the ongoing work of the Foundation is in line with the values of diversity and inclusion. She sits on the boards of directors for the YWCA Metropolitan Chicago, Harriet’s Daughters, the Chicago Minority Supplier Development Council and Chicago United Leaders Council. Nadia is a recipient of the National Society for Diversity’s Champion for Diversity Leadership Award and was also named to Diversity MBA Magazine’s Top Diverse Executives & Emerging Leaders list. Previously, Nadia worked for the City of Chicago Department of Procurement Services, where she managed the City’s target market and professional services contracts. She was also an adjunct professor at Northeastern Illinois University, where she taught courses in Criminal Justice Studies and Race and the Law. Nadia holds a Juris Doctor degree from Mitchell Hamline School of Law and has several years of legal experience. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science and Public Policy from Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts.
Robert S. Rivkin
Deputy Mayor, City of Chicago
Robert S. Rivkin is Deputy Mayor of the City of Chicago, focusing his efforts on economic development, job creation and retention, and infrastructure. For a year prior to his appointment he practiced law at Riley Safer Holmes & Cancila LLP, advising clients on aviation, rail, road and other transportation issues, internal investigations, white collar criminal defense, domestic and international business regulation, and commercial litigation. Bob was previously Senior Vice President for Regulatory & International Affairs and Deputy General Counsel of Delta Air Lines, where he was responsible for addressing governmental regulation and oversight in the U.S. and abroad, as well as litigation, antitrust, employment and real estate legal issues. Prior to joining Delta, Bob spent four years as general counsel of the U.S. Department of Transportation, after being nominated by President Obama and unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate. Previously, Bob served as vice president and deputy general counsel of Aon Corporation and general counsel of the Chicago Transit Authority. He has also worked in private law practice, as a federal prosecutor, for the British Parliament and at the European Commission in Brussels, Belgium. Bob graduated magna cum laude from Harvard College, received a juris doctor degree from Stanford Law School, where he was an associate editor of the Stanford Law Review, and clerked for Judge Joel M. Flaum of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit. His wife, Cindy Moelis, is President of the Pritzker Traubert Family Foundation. They have three grown children.
Vik Sawhney
Senior Managing Director and Chief Operating Officer, Private Equity, Blackstone
Vik Sawhney is a Senior Managing Director of The Blackstone Group and Chief Operating Officer of the Private Equity group. Before joining Blackstone in 2007, Mr. Sawhney worked as a Managing Director in the Financial Sponsors Group at Deutsche Bank, where he was responsible for managing the firm’s relationships with Blackstone and several other large private equity firms. Prior to joining Deutsche Bank, Mr. Sawhney was an Associate at the law firm of Simpson Thacher & Bartlett. Vik represented Blackstone as a Rockefeller Fellow during 2010-2011. He currently serves on the Board of Harlem RBI, an east Harlem social services and educational organization, and is also a Trustee of the Rye Country Day School. Mr. Sawhney received a BA, magna cum laude, from Dartmouth College, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. He also received a J.D., cum laude, from Harvard Law School.
Xavier Ramey
CEO and Lead Strategist, Justice Informed
Xavier Ramey is the CEO and Lead Strategist for Justice Informed, a Chicago-based social impact consulting agency. He is a native Chicagoan by way of North Lawndale. His professional background includes serving as the Senior Assistant Director for Social Innovation and Philanthropy at the University of Chicago, as the lead for the workforce and economic development philanthropic portfolio at United Way of Metro Chicago, as the Director of Development and Marketing at Young Men's Educational Network (Lawndale), and as a commodities trader at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. He brings an extensive background in community organizing and engagement through his work in the Black Lives Matter movement, through an organization he helped launch called the LetUsBreathe Collective. He is a noted public speaker and university lecturer on social justice and civic engagement, writes for several online publications, and is often heard on WBEZ's Vocalo Radio's Peace Council and WVON Radio as a commentator. Xavier serves on the Board of Directors for Young Chicago Authors and the Chicago Center for Arts and Technology.

AGENDA – May 16th


10:00 AM               Registration and Coffee
10:30 AM               BX Challenge Cohort Member Video: 1871
10:33 AM               BX Challenge Cohort Member Video:  Blue1647
10:35 AM               Welcome Remarks

  •       Robert Rivkin, Deputy Mayor, City of Chicago
  •       Andrea Zopp, President and CEO, World Business Chicago
  •       Amy Stursberg, Executive Director, Blackstone Charitable Foundation

10:55 AM               BX Challenge Cohort Member Video: Bethel New Life

10:57 AM               BX Challenge Cohort Member Video: Bunker Labs
11:00 AM               Panel 1 – Defining Inclusive Entrepreneurship:

  •       Charlie Corrigan, Vice President, JPMorgan Chase Foundation
  • Evelyn J. Diaz, President, Heartland Alliance for Human Needs & Human Rights
  • Joseph Parilla, Fellow, Brookings Institution
  • Julia Stasch, President, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
  • Moderated by Xavier Ramey, CEO, Justice Informed

12:00 PM               BX Challenge Cohort Member Video: Future Founders
12:03 PM               BX Challenge Cohort Member Video: i.c.stars

12:05 PM               Break & Lunch
12:30 PM               Lunch & Panel 2 – Building Communities:

  •       Arne Duncan, Managing Partner, Emerson Collective
  •       Bernita Johnson-Gabriel, Executive Vice President, Neighborhoods and Strategic Initiatives, World Business Chicago
  •       Nadia Quarles, Assistant Vice President of Business Diversity, University of Chicago
  •       Vik Sawhney, Sr. Managing Director & Chief Operating Officer, Private Equity, Blackstone
  •       Moderated by Alya Adamany Woods, Executive Director, ChicagoNEXT, World Business Chcicago

1:30 PM               Networking

1:50 PM               BX Challenge Cohort Member Video: City Tech & Colony 5
1:53 PM               BX Challenge Cohort Member: Video: WBDC

1:55 PM               Closing Keynote

Introductory Remarks:

  •      Mark Tebbe, Chair, ChicagoNEXT, World Business Chicago

A Conversation with:

  •      Don Thompson, Founder and CEO, Cleveland Avenue
  •      Andrea Zopp, President and CEO, World Business Chicago

2:45 PM               Closing Remarks

  •      Jimmy Odom, Director of Inclusive Entrepreneurship, ChicagoNEXT, World Business Chicago

2:50 PM               Closing Reception
3:30 PM               End program


Willis Tower

233 S Wacker Dr

Chicago, IL 60606

Presenting Organizations

The Blackstone Charitable Foundation was founded at the time of Blackstone’s initial public offering in 2007 with substantial commitments from the Firm’s employees. Influenced by the enterprising heritage of the firm and its founders, The Blackstone Charitable Foundation is directing its resources and applying the intellectual capital of the firm to foster entrepreneurship in areas hardest hit by the global economic crisis. Through its investment expertise across several asset classes and geographies, Blackstone has a unique perspective on the global economy and a heightened understanding of how entrepreneurial activity is often the crucial catalyst in the growth of successful businesses, industries and communities.

World Business Chicago is a public-private, non-profit partnership that drives inclusive economic growth and job creation, supports business, and promotes Chicago as a leading global city.

ChicagoNEXT, an initiative of World Business Chicago, is a dedicated effort to drive growth and opportunity in Chicago’s technology community, governed by a council of industry leaders

Andrea Zopp, President & CEO of World Business Chicago

"As the CEO of World Business Chicago, I am especially excited to see the progress the BX Challenge is making in Chicago's tech ecosystem by supporting underserved entrepreneurs and scaling up their startups. We are seeing the benefits of this cohort-based model, which is helping the participants improve their skills and build camaraderie. We look forward to its continued success and hope it will be a model for the nation.”

Recent Tweets

@ChicagoNEXT @tastytrade @ChicagosMayor Thank you so much on behalf of @tastytrade @thetastyworks and our whole team here!! What an incredible honor! And thank you for all you do at @ChicagoNEXT for the tech community and all the growing companies here in Chicago!

Honored to attend the @ChiSisterCities Chicago Consular Corps gala this evening celebrating Chicago’s international community. @chicagosglobal #CCCGala


.@KristiRossX, co-CEO and President of @tastytrade, receives this year’s ChicagoNEXT award for their commitment to advancing cutting-edge technology while supporting young #womenintech and entrepreneurship. #CCCGala


We just wrapped up #ChiTechDay to celebrate 2,000 jobs from 16 local tech companies. Whether they're pioneering #fintech, #supplychain, #AI, or #marketing, these companies chose Chicago because our city is a global tech hub with a diversified economy and strong talent pool.


To honor #WomensEntrepreneurshipDay, our President & CEO Andrea Zopp celebrated woman entrepreneurs in Chicago and thanked the organizations that have strengthened the ecosystem for women throughout the city.


Cutting-edge tech, global innovation, and a new platform that can transport a human’s presence in real time. Check out our recap of our Fireside Chat with @FlyANA_official on the blog!

Congrats to @scottissen and the @FutureFounders team on the #Momentum2018 Chicagoness award!

Tomorrow from 6 PM - 8 PM @TheBunkerLabs is hosting its monthly Bunker Brews event. This event will benefit Toys for Tots at @Groupon


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