CHICAGO (CBS) – 1871 has been named the top business incubator in the world. Now, it’s getting a new leader.
1871’s new CEO, Betsy Ziegler, spoke to CBS 2’s Vince Gerasole about her thoughts on how the region stacks up in creating the jobs of tomorrow.
“Sponsorship and mentor-ship is part of the success of young companies,” said Ziegler. “We have gotten some wins over the last couple of years and those founders and CEOs are staying in the city and investing in the newest companies in the pipeline.”
1871 provides access to mentors and venture capitalists and provides innovate space. The business incubator helped budding businesses create 8,000 jobs in the past six years.
“Chicago has been very supportive of our careers,” said Jasmine Shells from Five To Nine.
Denise Umubyeyi and Jasmine Shells’ company Five To Nine strives to connect workers with worthwhile volunteer experiences. They say the guidance 1871 has offered has been key to their success.
The minds involved in 1871 hope to create technology’s next big thing.
“It’s really hard to be an entrepreneur and build a start up,” stated Denise Umubyeyi from Five To Nine. “Also having a female CEO has been a lot of fun.”
1871’s CEO Betsey Ziegler is a former innovation officer at Northwestern and business consultant.
With top businesses and engineering schools, along with a tech workforce that’s grown from 2 to 13%, Ziegler says she’s positive about Chicago’s tech future.
She’s initiated programs to make start-ups more aware of social and sexual diversity.
“If you are a company of one or a company of three, you should still be thinking about what type of culture you are trying to create and how to set those thing sup from the beginning,” said Ziegler.
The west coast, with Apple and Amazon, is still proving ground for tech, but Ziegler’s confident Chicago’s already riding the next wave.
“Actually, we are at this tipping pint where Chicago can be on the main stage in a very prominent way,” said Ziegler.
Ziegler also aims to more closely involve the area’s fortune 500 companies as mentors for 1871’s entrepreneurs.