After two weeks of hands-on workshops and exciting pitches, school is out for this year’s Campus 1871! From April 9-23, we joined our partner StateFarm to welcome a virtual classroom full of talented students from DePaul University, Northwestern University, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, and University of Chicago. From the Slack channel to the Zoom room, Campus 1871 was alive with an exciting energy as this incredible group of aspiring entrepreneurs learned, collaborated, and pitched their business ideas.

Following a warm welcome from our very own 1871 CEO Betsy Ziegler on April 9, we kicked off our full agenda of workshops and mentor meetings, where students learned the fundamentals of entrepreneurship from Chicago’s brightest business leaders. In the Entrepreneur 101 panel, participants dove head first into the startup world, as our panelists shared their experiences and called out the challenges they faced in their journey. 

Then, Co-Founder and CEO of Further Faster Design Ellie Bahrmasel led the What’s the Why workshop, where she explained how to articulate and validate the problem you’re setting out to solve by leading with why. Finally, we rounded out a productive first week with mentor office hours, where each team met with a 1871 community mentor to discuss and get feedback on their business idea.

In week two of Campus 1871, we tackled some of today’s most pressing topics in tech. On Monday, students joined in to listen to a panel on diversity in tech, where local business leaders and tech entrepreneurs discussed their experiences encountering unconscious bias in their startup careers and how they ways they’ve worked in their companies to combat it. From there, we explored how to use research and validation methods to better understand our customers, brand, and vision statement in our Validating Your Vision workshop. As the teams prepared to pitch their business ideas, VAG Productions Executive Producer Victoria Elena Nones led a fascinating workshop on how to perfect your pitch, where she discussed tangible lessons on building a pitch deck, telling a visual and informational story, and standing out in the big meeting. From here, our students were ready to shine at the final event.

Campus 1871 culminated on Friday, April 23 with our long-awaited pitch event. Throughout the program, participating students had been hard at work preparing to ace their pitch, and they didn’t disappoint! Our judges were blown away by all of the innovative ideas shared, and after a long and difficult decision, we found our winners. In second place was Team Logicgigpro, which consisted of Christopher Williams, Lauren McCarthy, Nathan Seiler, and Nikiya Price, and our first place winner went to Team Reusabowl, which consisted of Requel Young, Mudabbir Ahmed Tariq, Teagen Andrews, and Virginia Head!

Thank you again to all our star students and budding entrepreneurs who joined us for this year’s Campus 1871, and to our partner StateFarm for making this program possible! We can’t wait to see where these bright young men and women go next and what industry-disrupting businesses they build in the years to come!

Sponsored by:

Join as an 1871 Early Stage Member.

Attend info session

Subscribe to our ICYMI newsletter.

Share this post: