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J Blaszczykiewicz

Director of Marketing, 1871

1871 and ITA join forces to drive collective acceleration for early-stage, growth-stage, and enterprise companies.

CHICAGO (February 18th) –Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center (CEC dba 1871) and Illinois Technology Association (ITA) announced today that CEC has acquired the principal assets and programs of the ITA.

For over 35 years, CEC and ITA have been supporting, connecting, and serving the Chicago tech community. There is a natural alignment of organizational missions, as both 1871 and ITA have been focused on driving positive economic development in Chicago and across the region. The addition of ITA’s growth-stage focused programs complete 1871’s support stack, which will now include support for growth-stage companies in addition to the current founder-focused incubation and enterprise innovation programming.

“ITA has played a major role in the Chicago tech community for years. Their programs are among the best of their kind. We at 1871 could not be happier to take on and continue the legacy of ITA’s mission and their programs” said Larry Eppley Chairman of 1871 and Managing Partner of Sheppard Mullin’s Chicago office. “Our two member-based organizations have similar missions and culture. The addition of these ITA programs for growth-stage companies fits nicely into our other world-class offerings.”

“We believe this is the right answer for Chicago,” said Jeremie Bacon the Chairman of ITA, CEO of Imagineer Technology Group, and Co-Founder of The Forge: Lemont Quarries Adventure Park. “Our board is confident that the impact we’ve had to date will continue to expand under this new structure and 1871’s leadership. Together we can enable collective acceleration across the business lifecycle of tech companies.”

“When we started ITA in 2005, our goal was to bring together the tech entrepreneurs and leaders of Chicago, to support and lift each other in building better companies,” said Terry Howerton, who founded ITA, and is CEO of TechNexus Venture Collaborative. “Under Fred Hoch's leadership -- and later Julia Kanouse -- ITA was a sparkplug to build and grow the vibrant, inter-connected tech community that Chicago now enjoys. Today there are dozens of organizations expanding that mission. I expect this 1871/ITA combination to better amplify all of Chicago."

“I am really proud of the team and  what we’ve built at ITA and am excited to see those programs continue to flourish and expand as the teams integrate”, said Julia Kanouse, former CEO of ITA and now SVP at ISACA, “With the 1871 integration, we can expand the value proposition for new and existing ITA and 1871 members” 

“There is so much positive energy in the tech community right now, no shortage of exciting things going on”, said Betsy Ziegler, CEO of 1871,  “This is a transformational opportunity and we strongly believe in the power of “and” combining two great organizations to expand our collective reach and relevance in Chicago, Illinois and across the Midwest.  I can’t wait to get started. ”

About Illinois Technology Association

Illinois Technology Association (ITA) scales Illinois tech companies.  With innovative resources that connect members to the local tech ecosystem, build their talent networks and create visibility for their brands, ITA is growing the local tech commu­nity.  Founded in 2005 and supporting 400+ growth and late-stage tech companies, ITA has a rich history of driving business forward. For more information, visit, follow @ITAbuzz on Twitter or find us on LinkedIn.

 About 1871

1871 is Chicago’s digital technology hub and the #1 ranked private business incubator in the world. It exists to inspire, equip, and support founders building extraordinary businesses. Located in the historic Merchandise Mart, 1871 is home to ~450 technology startups and ~1,500 members supported by an entire ecosystem focused on accelerating their growth and creating jobs in the Chicagoland area. The nonprofit organization has 350 mentors available to its founders, alongside access to more than 100 partner corporations, universities, education programs, accelerators, venture funds and others. Since its inception in 2012, more than 650 alumni companies are currently still active, have created over 11,250 jobs, and have raised more than $1.5 billion in follow-on capital.1871-ITA_Logos_wide-1


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