Wednesday, June 18, 2014


1871, the business incubator and co-working space located on the 12th floor of Merchandise Mart, is expanding. 1871 CEO Howard A. Tullman, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn and members of the Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center board of directors announced the expansion of 1871 Tuesday. Chicago's digital entrepreneurship hub will expand by 25,000 square feet, which is a 50 percent increase in size. The co-working space recently turned two years old.

Gov. Quinn took another tour of the facility before announcing the $2.5 million grant to help the tech incubator expand. Illinois made a similar-sized investment of taxpayer money two years ago.

"We've been able, with this great movement of 1871, to create more than 1,000 jobs in a couple of years with a modest investment," Quinn said.

The expansion will allow 1871 to house larger companies than they were previously able, including companies that have outgrown their current space but want to continue to work within the space's environment. It will also allow 1871 to grow, or expand incubators and accelerators in food technology, real estate technology, education technology, financial technology, startup engineering and women-owned technology businesses. They will also house venture capital firms looking to invest in local companies. The space added with the expansion is already sold out.

1871 has a national reputation, attracting college-educated, young entrepreneurs who start and grow their tech businesses in Chicago.

"Starting up is easy," said Julian Miller, CEO of Learn Metrics. "It's staying up and finishing up that are tough."

Mayor Rahm Emanuel is also confident in Chicago's future as a center for technology-driven businesses, but he and City Colleges chancellor Cheryl Hyman say they know that to reduce chronic unemployment in low-income neighborhoods, more students must complete two-year associates degrees that train them for available jobs.

"It's incumbent upon us that after they invest their time and their money, that that degree means something," said Hyman.

Many business leaders doubt that public schools can keep up with the rapidly changing needs of private industry. 1871's CEO Howard Tullman said he believes private companies can do more when it comes to job training and retraining.
"The more important solution is for companies to invest in training and retraining their own workforces, and to bring new folks in," Tullman said. 

Total Pageviews


Blog Archive