Tuesday, April 19, 2016

1871 CEO Remarks at Grand Opening of 1871 3.0


Welcome to 1871 3.0 and thank you for joining us so early this morning for our Grand Opening.

We’re excited to take this next step forward and also to take a moment to reflect on our progress over the last couple of years as we’ve grown our operations by more than 300% to serve almost 500 startups as well as providing more than 1000 events and workshops a year for Chicago’s larger tech and entrepreneurial community. 

We now support a small city here of almost 2000 people a day in an amazing and creative space that has more than doubled in size and which is already fully occupied by eager entrepreneurs inventing, building and improving our collective future. We are also training over 1000 people a year in coding, entrepreneurship, design, cybersecurity and 3D prototyping/manufacturing.

1871 - since its inception - has created hundreds of companies and over 4500 new jobs and put Chicago’s tech scene front and center on the national and global scene. We’re ranked Number 1 in the U.S. and 4th in the world and we don’t plan to stop growing any time soon since we don’t believe in settling for anything less than the best.

I’m pleased to note that we’ve done this all while adding less than a dozen people to our own 1871 team including 6 team members sourced through Chicago’s own Skills for Chicagoland’s Future program. 1871 is a hub for innovation, technology, community, diversity and inclusion with exciting and expanding programs for women, veterans, and other underserved populations. Our own focus on diversity is a model for tech companies and other businesses across the country and another area where we will continue to build.

I’m especially proud that the new 3.0 expansion space contains brand-new faces and organizations like the Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and Collective Shift; member companies that have been here from Day One and have grown dramatically since then like Learnmetrics and Options Away; new business partners and supporters like Accenture, Pivotal and Windy City Labs, venture funds including Chicago Ventures, MATH, Hyde Park Angels, and Impact Engine, and expanded school and university presences with DeVry Education Group and Designation. We’re also very grateful to our many sponsors like Bucksbaum Retail Properties, Comcast Business and Bluescape/Haworth for helping us make the new space a reality.

As I always say, no one today does anything all by themselves and we wouldn’t be here today without the unbelievable vision, dedication and commitment as well as the hard work of too many people to name individually, but I do want to take a few moments for some special thank yous.

We want to thank our founder JB Pritzker as always for his vision, support, continued commitment and guidance. JB was an early and vocal supporter of this new expansion (when there were plenty of doubters) and important to its approval and success.

I want to thank Mayor Emanuel for joining us today and for his continued support, encouragement and promotion of 1871 and for his help in making sure we were able to secure this space. I also want to acknowledge the help over the years which we have received from the state and especially the people at DCEO and IFA. Finally, the team from Silicon Valley Bank helped us creatively finance this new space and we are grateful for their expertise and partnership.

I want to thank Barbara Pollack, our owner’s representative, for helping design and create this space and for her hard work in managing and directing the teams of professionals from Gensler, Skender, Steelcase and Forward Space who brought this project in on budget and in record time.

And speaking of teams, I want to especially thank all of our entire 1871 team members who have pitched in in a million different ways to make this new space a unique environment and another milestone in 1871’s growth which we can all be very proud of.

And finally I want to thank my wife Judy for her support and for her patience in suffering through years of 18 hour days and months of phone calls at all hours of the night – all of which are part of what it takes to get great and important things done. 

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