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Questions? Read our FAQs
Overview: Join General Assembly and mHub for a conversation and showcase of organizations who are actively building Chicago to position it as a global contender.
Come together with Chicago’s emerging organizations, entrepreneurs, and artists for a night of exploring Chicago’s progress as an innovative city. Get a sneak peek of some of the city’s most cutting edge innovations, as local creators present their latest ideas and forecast the tech trends for Chicago - and globally - in 2017.
What You’ll Take Away:
Why It Matters: We all know the power of the Chicago tech and business ecosystem - with venture capitalists investing $1.04 billion across 128 deals in Illinois in 2016 and Chicago ranking as the nation’s top city for return on startup investment - but there’s so much more to be done across support, diversity, and growth.
Please note that by RSVPing for this event you are agreeing to receive communications from event partners.
Fabian Elliott Founder and CEO, Black Tech Mecca / Advertising Technology Consultant, Google
Fabian Elliott is a ‘Hybrid Entrepreneur’ as Founder & CEO of Black Tech Mecca Inc. and an Advertising Technology Consultant at Google. In his ad-tech consulting capacity, he works with top tier clients like Target, Ford, Kimberly Clark, and others to better leverage their consumer data to drive their digital advertising strategies. Fabian’s burning vision for black empowerment through technology inspired him to play a key role in revamping, revitalizing, and rebranding Google's black employee group - where he completed his term as inaugural appointed Global Co-Chair in August of 2015. In this role, Fabian co-chaired the 10-person leadership team responsible for 700+ members across the company and 14 chapters spanning the globe including cities such as London, Dublin, and Sao Paulo.
Fabian's latest endeavor is focused on driving change by leading the charge to build thriving Black Tech Ecosystems in cities around the U.S, starting with Chicago. His organization, Black Tech Mecca, is a data-driven think tank focused on the Black tech community. They leverage data to better connect local tech ecosystems to the needs of Black tech practitioners through research, advocacy, and education.
Managing Director and Co-founder,
Bill Fienup, managing director and co-founder, is a mechanical engineer, product developer and serial entrepreneur who has designed toys for Hasbro and researched fusion energy for Los Alamos National Laboratory. Bill holds both Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Mechanical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He was a co-founder and president of Catalyze Chicago, which provided space, equipment, mentorship and community to dozens of early-stage product development entrepreneurs. Before merging into mHUB, Catalyze occupied 8,000 square feet, served close to 200 members who filed 80 patents, raised $21M, generated $57M in revenue and created dozens of new jobs. Bill started his career as a product design consultant for IDEO and Insight Product Development, where he was noted for his imaginative, innovative solutions to client needs. With deep experience in mechanism design, product development and complex electromechanical systems, Bill shifted from consulting to become an entrepreneur. He started several companies, including Ecofurn and MB Labs, which focused on connected devices. Bill holds 11 patents — including a bandage dispenser, biopsy needle and a NERF Atom Blaster™ with more pending, including several related to 3D printing. Bill’s reputation as a thought leader extends beyond Chicago. In addition to being a repeat visitor to the White House for topics ranging from international trade to the maker movement, Bill has appeared on national television with his inventions.
Kyle is a passionate designer, maker, and manager with a wide breadth of experience. He excels at providing a holistic design approach, understanding and balancing the needs of business, marketing, design, and engineering while focusing on the end user to create meaningful and lasting products and experiences. He joined MINIMAL in 2013 and works on a captivating mix of corporate and startup client projects as well as his own entrepreneurial endeavors.
Prior to MINIMAL, Kyle was at Whipsaw where he led projects for Google, GE, Merck, Dropcam, and Apnicure to name a few. Before that he completed six internships with Intel, Black & Decker, and Newell Rubbermaid. Kyle graduated from University of Cincinnati, has been granted over a dozen design and utility patents, and has won over two dozen international design awards including RedDot, IF, IDA, Good Design, D&AD, Spark, and C77DA.
Amelia Gandara is the Community Leader for GE Fuse, an new team within GE focused on accelerating new product development via crowdsourcing. In this capacity, Amelia builds and engages a community of technical problem solvers that collaborate with GE subject matter experts to bring new products to life within industrial inspection and monitoring.
Prior to Fuse, Amelia was the Community Builder at GE FirstBuild, an innovation team that crowdsourced new products for GE Appliances. More recently, Amelia was the Director of Commercialization and Engagement for Greater Louisville Inc's EnterpriseCorp where she managed the programming for the Vogt Awards, a $5M non-dilutive startup seed fund. She has a chemical engineering degree from the University of Louisville and currently resides in Chicago, IL.
Alya Adamany Woods
ChicagoNEXT, World Business Chicago
Alya Adamany Woods is the Executive Director of ChicagoNEXT, World Business Chicago’s dedicated effort to drive growth and opportunity for Chicago’s tech economy. Governed by a council of technology leaders, ChicagoNEXT strategic focus areas include capital, talent, industry and community and her portfolio of programs includes the Chicago Venture Summit, ThinkChicago, and the Blackstone Inclusive Entrepreneurship Challenge.
Prior to her role at World Business Chicago, Alya was the Managing Director for Innovation Initiatives at the Illinois Science & Technology Coalition (ISTC), a statewide advocacy group dedicated to cultivating technology-based economic development in Illinois. She co-founded and managed the ISTC’s award-winning Corporate-Startup Challenge, a program designed to create a bridge between major corporations and startup and emerging growth technology firms. She was also the co-creator of the Illinois Innovation Index, a monthly publication developed in conjunction with World Business Chicago to benchmark the city and state’s ability to attract capital, create and retain talent and business, and drive dynamic technologies.
Prior to that, Woods worked for the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, where she most recently served as the Assistant Director for studies, and prior to that as the Interim Director for the Global Midwest Initiative. There, she tackled global policy issues including energy, immigration, and agriculture.
Alya received her bachelor’s degree in political science from Yale University and a master’s degree in international relations from the University of Chicago. She has lived in Chicago since 2002 and currently resides in Logan Square with her family.
mHUB is Chicago's first innovation center for physical product development and manufacturing. Its members have access to 63,000 square feet of state-of-the-art prototyping facility and work space, and are engaged in a community that includes manufacturers, entrepreneurs, engineers, designers and investors. mHUB offers a robust combination of events, workshops, classes, seminars, and other programs to its growing community and is currently accepting new members.
Black Tech Mecca uses data to identify challenges impacting how black tech practitioners engage with their local tech ecosystems, crafting solutions to fill its gaps and spearhead change. They are champions of tech empowerment - redirecting resources, reshaping perspectives, and redefining obstacles. Their goal is to democratize technology, ecosystem by ecosystem, breaking down barriers one community at a time. To download their inaugural research report, visit www.blacktechmecca.org
We understand that, sometimes, plans change. If you can no longer make it to a class or workshop, please email us at least 7 days before the scheduled event date. No refunds will be given to cancellations made within a week of the class or workshop.
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