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Campus 1871

Friday, April 5, 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 an original startup business plan 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 for you and your team to create a viable business model and design for a potential startup company that would solve a meaningful problem in today’s world. Come in with ideas and get ready to pitch to the crowd!

*Note, you must be able to attend the entire event in order to be eligible, from Friday, April 5 at 5pm through Sunday, April 7 at 3:30pm. 

Applications are 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 turn a startup concept into a fully realized business proposal. 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 invited to give a 1-minute pitch on a potential company or startup idea the evening of Friday, April 5th, to kick off the weekend. You are not required to pitch, but this is a great opportunity to make yourself known as a team leader and share an idea with the group. This startup/company idea can be something you think of on the spot or something you have been considering for some time. Those who do pitch should not prepare any materials or presentations for this pitch, these are meant to be original ideas with no prior efforts. From there, your peers will vote on which company pitches they would like to see become a reality, 10-12 companies will make it to the final round. From there, your peers will choose which of those 10-12 ideas they want to work on and with that your teams are formed.  You will work in your new teams throughout the weekend to further develop the idea, create a value proposition, and build as much of the product as you can, culminating in a pitch contest on Sunday, April 7th in front of a panel of expert judges.

You will be judged on the originality of your idea, as well as the realistic potential of your business, your revenue planhow well you pitch and your overall design.

Competition Rules:

  • Teams may have a maximum of 10 people.
  • The company you develop must be able to be used on a mobile device.
  • Your company and app 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 startup/app.
  • You do not have to have a functioning app 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.

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 originality of your idea
    • The realistic potential of your business
    • Your revenue plan
    • How well you pitch
    • Overall design

What does this cost?

There is no cost to you! Food, lodging, and other participatory costs will be covered by 1871.

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

Applicants will be notified of the status of their acceptance by Wednesday, February 28, 2018.

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]