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For a whole host of reasons, 1871 believes Chicago is the best place in the country for women entrepreneurs to start a business. With that in mind, we’ve created WiSTEM, a 12-week, curriculum-based program that connects women to capital, community, and technology resources.  Since its inception in September 2015, the WiSTEM program has helped more than 64 women-founded companies and 72 entrepreneurs.



“The opportunity to be in a group of women helping each other’s businesses grow and evolve has been an inspiring and incredible journey, and I’m thrilled that many more women will benefit from the same resources and possibilities.”

– Moira Hardek, Galvanize Labs



The 1871 WiSTEM program offers:

  • A tailored experience – WiSTEM is a rigorous, yet flexible program structured around the challenges and opportunities faced by women entrepreneurs
  • Content and mentorship designed specifically around the individual companies admitted into the program
  • Access to the 1871 community and all of its resources including office space
  • Mentorship from some of Chicago’s top female (and male) business leaders
  • Access to 1871’s top University partnerships including University of Illinois, University of Chicago, Northwestern University, Loyola University Chicago, and the Illinois Institute of Technology
  • Access to capital through 1871’s strong connections to the city’s top venture capitalists
  • Local and national exposure through 1871’s strong media connections

Collectively, WiSTEM companies have:

  • Created over 200 new full and part time jobs
  • Raised more than $7 million in funding
  • Generated more than $1.5 million in gross revenues
  • Built a community of more than 2,900 women in tech and entrepreneurship.

You qualify for WiSTEM if you:

  • Have at least one woman as a co-founder
  • Have a technology or tech-enabled business


Applications are now open for Cohort 7. The deadline to apply is March 12, 2018.

Apply Now



In a word, [WiSTEM has been] incredible. The relationships with my cohort family have pushed me to work harder and be better in my business. The 1871 staff has been a tremendous asset as far as helping me with strategy and problem solving. All in all, I truly feel my WiSTEM experience is one of the best things that has happened to me since I founded FetchFind.

– Jamie Migdal, FetchFind



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WiSTEM is proud to have the following partners and sponsors:

Women Tech Founders (WTF)
DyMynd Angels
Ms. Tech
JPMorgan Chase & Co.
Latham & Watkins LLP
Women’s Business Development Center
Lefkofsky Foundation
Small Business Administration