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Campus 1871

Saturday, April 6, 2019 – Sunday, April 7, 2019


What is Campus 1871?

For one weekend a year, 1871 brings together more than 100 students from local universities for the ultimate startup experience. Students come together to share ideas, collaborate and build out business solutions with mentoring and coaching from 1871 entrepreneurs. The weekend concludes with a pitch competition in front of a panel of top leaders in Chicago’s tech community for assorted prizes.

1871’s ongoing commitment to fostering an inclusive and diverse community is an integral component of the Campus 1871 experience. The mentors and speakers who participate throughout Campus 1871 are team members, 1871 university partner staff and 1871 members who offer their time and guidance to provide an authentic Chicago Startup experience.

The weekend will include Startup 101 crash courses, keynote speakers, mentorship, pitches, and a grand prize for the winning team! The purpose of Campus 1871 is to provide students with an opportunity to simulate the experience of building and running their own business.

*Note, you must be able to attend the entire event in order to be eligible, from Saturday, April 6 at 8 am through Sunday, April 7 at 3:30 pm. Campus 1871 will close for the evening at 10 pm on Saturday and re-open on Sunday at 7 am.


Applications are now closed.


But I’m not a developer. Is that okay?

If you have the technical or creative abilities to build an app or functioning platform, that is great! But it takes a team of cross-talented individuals to build great businesses. You’ll need Hustlers (business, marketing, and sales strategists), Dreamers (inventors and idea-makers), Hipsters (designers), and Hackers (developers) to get the best result possible.

How does the competition work?

Students will be placed in teams, where they will receive business ideas from leading industry experts and professionals on the morning of Saturday, April 6th. Upon receiving their ideas, each team will begin to develop a business strategy, create a value proposition, and build out their product. Over the course of the event, students will also receive basic startup courses, informative speeches, and mentorship. Using these lessons, students will participate in a culminating pitch contest on Sunday, April 7th, where each team will present their idea in front of a panel of expert judges. Competition winners may receive a number of assorted prizes including a temporary membership at 1871.

Teams will be judged on the realistic potential of their business, their revenue plan, how well they pitch, and their overall design.

Competition Rules:

  • Your product should be made from scratch and not from a device, platform or application you have already started working on.
  • You cannot outsource any of the coding or design components of your product.
  • You do not have to have a functioning product by the end of the weekend, but you will need to create visual demonstrations of what the app and user interface might look like and how it would work.
  • The general rules for each challenge will be presented at the beginning of the event.

Pitching Rules:

  • Your presentation must be created and presented in Microsoft PowerPoint
  • You have 3 minutes to pitch your company to a panel of judges and 2 minutes for questions from the judges
  • You must choose 1 person from your team to pitch
  • You will be judged on the following categories:
    • The realistic potential of your business
    • Your revenue plan
    • How well you pitch
    • Overall design

When will I be notified on whether I’ve been accepted or not?

Applicants will be notified of the status of their acceptance in March 2019.

If you are interested in getting involved as a volunteer, sponsor or if you just want to learn more, please feel free to reach out to [email protected]