Greater Madison Chamber Leads Community Tour of Entrepreneurial Ecosystem in Chicago

MADISON – On Aug. 27, the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce will host members of the startup community, the Chamber board of directors, the Chamber’s small business advisory council and other business and civic leaders to locations of innovation in Chicago. The trip will include:

  • Visit to 1871: As a premier coworking space, 1871 provides affordable workspace and access to mentors and investors in a community of like-minded entrepreneurs.
  • Discussion with J.B. Pritzker: The accomplished venture capitalist, entrepreneur, philanthropist and civic leader will host a conversation about the importance and rewards of fostering a vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem.
  • Tour of Catapult Chicago: The collaborative, community-focused startup space grows later-stage technology companies and will show how it nurtures the development of talent and new business.

“Chicago is emerging as a model for cross-sector collaboration that results in the creation of jobs, community wealth and prosperity,” said Zach Brandon, president of the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce. “This trip, and the people who have committed time and money in order to participate, reinforces that everyone – every business, every civic leader, every investor – everyone, has a role in innovation and how it advances a community.”

With the research coming out of the world-renowned university and the often acknowledged quality of life, Brandon says Greater Madison is already well-positioned to be on the map with other innovation cities. “One of the most important indicators in moving Greater Madison from a ‘great place to start a business’ to a ‘place of innovation’ is the groundswell of activity in our startup community,” said Brandon. “Entrepreneurs are leading and taking ownership of the momentum with activity such as the creation of events like Forward Technology Festival, the explosion of innovation spaces and the formation of groups such as Madisonium and Capital Entrepreneurs.”

At the 1-year anniversary, the 225 startups that grew out of 1871 have created 800 jobs, raised nearly $30 million in capital investments and added nearly $13 million in revenue to the Chicago economy.

“Entrepreneurial density, as well as proximity, matters,” said Brandon. “We know that the friction from human interaction sparks innovation. We have the spark in our community, always have. Now we are increasing the density with the rise in our local innovation spaces like gener8tor, Sector67, 100state, Bendyworks, Madworks and Horizon.”

The tour will host nearly 60 people from the Greater Madison region. Pictures and commentary of the trip can be found throughout the day and week on the Chamber’s website, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

About the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce:
The Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce is the voice of business with nearly 1,400 organizations – ranging from one-person shops to corporations with more than 6,000 employees – working to bring the Greater Madison area to its full potential. The Greater Madison region is a leader in innovation. From cutting-edge technologies to distinctive retail shops to inventive services and products, Madison businesses vary greatly but are united by the region’s entrepreneurial spirit. More information can be found at


Contact: Jo-ell CarsonCommunications Director, 608-443-1952 or 608-213-1799

Click here for the electronic version.

Chamber Resources

Business Directory

Business Directory