Thursday, November 12, 2015


Women's Entrepreneurship Program To Welcome Second Cohort In March Of 2016; First Cohort Is Underway At 1871 With 13 Strong Businesses

CHICAGO (NOVEMBER ##, 2015) – 1871 announced that its thriving WiSTEM program has opened applications for its second class of applicants, who will begin at 1871 in March of 2016. Successful applicants will be part of the second cohort of the WiSTEM program, which is currently working with thirteen companies at 1871.

“We're hoping to attract another amazing group of applicants for the next cohort," said Jessica Williams and Nicole Yeary, co-facilitators of WiSTEM. “We've been able to do so much with the current companies and we've learned a lot about how to create a great program that leads to business success. We are thrilled with the progress we've made so far and the potential to help even more women-owned companies in the future.”

To apply for WiSTEM, interested businesses should visit There are just two qualifications – the companies must have at least one woman as a co-founder, and the companies must be technology-enabled. Each company that is accepted to WiSTEM will also have to meet the general 1871 acceptance criteria.

The WiSTEM program features 16 weeks of classes, workshops, mentorship and engagement opportunity, covering every aspect of the business cycle. The program is focused on three main challenges facing women-owned tech businesses: access to capital, access to technology, and access to community. Each company works with a mentor consistently throughout the program; additionally, each company has the opportunity to tailor its curriculum based off of its own size and challenges.

"We expect that the entire original class of WiSTEM will play a significant role in the second cohort and in all future cohorts," said 1871 CEO Howard A. Tullman. "Our hope is that this program allows us to build an ever-growing community here in Chicago that attracts women and men from around the world to engage with this important initiative."

1871 has become the hub in Chicago for the conversation about the role of women in entrepreneurship. In the last several months, 1871 has welcomed a number of guests who have shared their stories with the members of the WiSTEM cohort as well as the broader community, including Illinois First Lady Diana Rauner, Springboard Ventures founder Kay Koplovitz, uBeam founder Meredith Perry, Vosges Haut-Chocolat founder Katrina Markoff, and Digital Citizen Fund co-founder and CEO Roya Mahboob. 1871 has also worked with partner organizations such as Women Tech Founders and the IoT Meetup to host several popular events focused on women in entrepreneurship.

The board of the Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center, which operates 1871, has also been directly involved with WiSTEM. Board members have met with the women of the cohort and are working to connect the businesses to opportunity in the Chicago business community. 

"One of the most powerful things we can do for the businesses is use our networks and connections on their behalf," said Laura Ferris Anderson, CEC Board Treasurer. "We're working directly with the companies to help find and facilitate opportunities that will accelerate their growth."

The first class of WiSTEM features 13 businesses, including:
•           Alex Buck – Co-Founder and CEO, Plumwise
•           Amanda Greenberg – Co-Founder and CEO, Baloonr
•           Annie Mohaupt – Founder and CEO, Mohop
•           Catherine Merritt – Founder and CEO, MUMZY
•           Elena Valentine – Co-Founder and CEO, Skill Scout
•           Holly Bellmund – Founder and CEO, Werenro Group
•           Julie Novack – Founder and CEO, PartySlate
•           Linda Zabors – Founder and CEO, Honorary Chicago
•           Michelle Smyth – Founder and CEO, Pay Your Selfie 
•           Parminder Batra – Co-Founder and CEO, Sekure Trak, Inc./TraknProtect
•           Reva Minkoff – Founder and President, Digital4Startups and DigitalGroundUp
•           Rose Afriyie – Co-Founder and CEO, mRelief
•           Veatrice Glenn – Founder and CEO, Insightful Decisions, Inc.

“There is no question that WiSTEM has been extremely valuable for my business,” said Julie Roth Novack, Founder and CEO Of PartySlate. “I have made invaluable connections with other women founders that I wouldn’t have had without the program.  I am also grateful to have the additional support from the WiSTEM facilitators and the 1871 leadership.  I'm looking forward to being involved with the next cohort.”

Applications are live now at The application deadline is January 5, 2016; selected businesses will be notified in early February and the cohort will begin in March 2016. 

About 1871

1871 is the home of more than 325 early-stage, high-growth digital startups. Located in The Merchandise Mart, this 75,000 square foot facility is also the headquarters of nationally recognized accelerators, Techstars Chicago and Impact Engine; half a dozen industry-specific incubators in key areas such as real estate, education technology, food and financial technology; several emerging tech talent schools (Flatiron, The Fullbridge Program, Designation and the Startup Institute), and the state's leading technology advocate, the Illinois Science and Technology Coalition. It is the second home to Chicago-based VCs, Pritzker Group Venture Capital, MATH Venture Partners, Hyde Park Angels, OCA Ventures, OurCrowd and Chicago Ventures, as well as satellite offices for Northwestern University, University of Illinois, University of Chicago, Loyola University Chicago, Illinois Institute of Technology, and DeVry. 1871 has fast become recognized as the hub for the city’s entrepreneurial/technology ecosystem and has been featured in Inc. Magazine, TechCrunch, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Chicago Tribune and Crain’s Chicago Business among other top media. 1871 is the flagship project of the Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center.

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