Author Image for Anoshe Waheed
Entrepreneurship Associate


As part of our mission to help entrepreneurs be the best they can be, we’re teaming up with Virgin Hotels Room 72, Virgin America and We Are The Future to host our very first StartUp Summit in Chicago on August 26th at the new Virgin Hotel.

We want to give those at the start of their entrepreneurial journey practical takeaways to increase their confidence and skills, as well as to encourage businesses to consider people and planet, as well as profit.

The day includes guest talks, interactive workshops and a showcase where entrepreneurs will pitch in front of an audience and recieve feedback from our expert panel. The jam packed schedule will teach entrepreneurs how to create a red hot brand, how to speed networking and what to do when the bank says no. 
We’ve secured a pretty impressive bunch to lead these sessions, including:
  • Howard Tullman - whose entrepreneurial career spans five decades - having built both a candy racket and a magic performance business at only aged 10. Howard is now the CEO of 1871 - Chicago’s entrepreneurial hub for digital start-ups - which helps 325 entrepreneurs build their businesses. He’ll be sharing his Startup 101 essentials, which has everything you need to know to get started.
  • Amy Kaherl - director of Detroit SOUP, a place where local residents pay an entrance fee to eat, meet new people and listen to entrepreneurs pitch their business ideas. After everyone has pitched, the residents vote for their favourite and the winner walks away with the night’s takings. Over the last five years, SOUP has held almost 100 dinners and raised over $85,000 for creative projects in Detroit. Amy will be showing us an alternative way if the bank says no to finance your business.
  • Wendy Abrams - an environmental activist and the founder of Cool Globes - a nonprofit organization with the goal to raise awareness of global warming. Wendy has always been tenacious in getting her initiatives off the ground, she even convinced Barack Obama to be on her Board! She’ll be helping entrepreneurs get over their fears and turn ideas into businesses.
  • Gayle Northrop - President of Northrop Nonprofit Consulting, a firm specializing in development for nonprofits, social enterprises and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) worldwide. Gayle is an advocate for creating positive change in the world and will explain why it’s good business to be a good business.
  • Bill Starkey and Stephen Snyder – branding experts from 1 Trick Pony - an innovative branding agency with clients such as Turner Classic Movies and Virgin Mobile. They’ll be leading a workshop on how to create a red hot brand so entrepreneurs can get off on the right foot when launching their businesses.
  • Mats Lederhausen - former Managing Director of McDonald’s Ventures, managing several of McDonald’s investments including Chipotle Mexican Grill and Pret A Manger. Realising his true calling, Mats created BE-CAUSE in early 2007, a platform for investing and building businesses with a “purpose bigger than their products®”. We’re very lucky to have him join us as the Key Note.

Team Virgin Unite
If you are aged 18-35, have a business idea or early-stage startup, and live in Chicago,  there are a few tickets left, sign up to the event here.
For those not attending, you can follow the event on Twitter by searching for #chicagosummit - we’ll be sharing all the best hints and tips from our amazing experts. We’ll also be sharing guest speaker blogs after the event. Stay tuned...