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1871 and Member Companies Highlighted During White House Demo Day


1871 Highlighted by White House for Diversity and Inclusion Programs; Member Company Export Abroad Demonstrated Product With President Obama; 1871-Based Impact Engine, Bunker Labs and FoodTrace Recognized During Event

CHICAGO (August 4, 2015) – 1871 member company Export Abroad traveled to Washington, DC today to present at the first-ever White House Demo Day. The Demo Day celebrated the important role entrepreneurship plays in America’s economy and promoted inclusive entrepreneurship by inviting innovators from around the country to demo their individual stories. In addition, 1871 member FoodTrace and veteran-focused incubator Bunker Labs were honored during the event for their entrepreneurial endeavors, and Impact Engine was announced as a winner of the SBA Growth Accelerator Competition. The White House also highlighted 1871 as an example of a technology center and ecosystem that is having a positive impact on diversity and inclusion in entrepreneurship.

“New businesses are the key drivers of economic growth across America,” said 1871 CEO Howard A. Tullman. “This economic impact is far more effective and widespread when it is inclusive of business owners from diverse backgrounds, so 1871 is particularly committed to facilitating opportunities for entrepreneurs from underrepresented communities. We are excited to help promote this initiative with the White House, and congratulate Export Abroad, Bunker Labs, FoodTrace, and Impact Engine on their involvement in today’s event and announcements.”

Export Abroad specializes in identifying target markets and sales leads for manufacturing and logistics firms. The company’s system determines relevant international markets based on individual product lines and metrics, helps plan a market strategy, and provides tools to make and track sales. Export Abroad was co-founded by Austin Grandt, a Janesville native and a graduate of the University of Minnesota, and William Hakizimana, a native of Rwanda and graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

“We were thrilled to have the opportunity to present our company during the first White House Demo Day,” said Export Abroad co-founder Austin Grandt. “This event was an incredible chance to not only demo Export Abroad, but also to discuss the impact of entrepreneurship for people across the United States.”

The White House hosted its first Demo Day to showcase the wide-ranging talents of innovators from around the country. A diverse group of entrepreneurs joined President Obama to demo their individual success stories to show the importance of giving every American the opportunity to pursue their innovative ideas. Event attendees engaged in a conversation about how individuals, organizations, and government can help ensure that everyone has access to the tools and resources they need to make their ideas a reality. The White House also used the event as an opportunity to make a number of announcements around entrepreneurship.

1871 was highlighted by the White House as an organization that is committed to promoting inclusive entrepreneurship throughout its community. 1871 facilitates a number of opportunities that help ensure that Chicago’s entrepreneurial landscape is reflective of the city’s overall demographic makeup, specifically through 1871-run programming created to grow the number of minority, women, and veteran tech entrepreneurs in Chicago. Through programs like veteran-focused Bunker Labs and women-focused WiSTEM, as well as diversity initiatives in partnership with the Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the Chicago Urban League, 1871 continues to expand its opportunities and resources to improve inclusion in Chicago’s technology and entrepreneurial communities.

As part of today’s series of announcements around programs to support entrepreneurs, 1871-based Impact Engine was announced as a winner of the SBA Growth Accelerator Competition, which aims to facilitate the development of startup accelerators that support underrepresented groups and regions in the United States’ entrepreneurial communities.

“We are thrilled to be named as a winner of this year’s SBA Growth Accelerator Competition,” said Impact Engine CEO Jessica Droste Yagan. “Impact Engine is focused on supporting companies that help address the world’s greatest social challenges, and entrepreneurial inclusion is an incredibly important aspect of that mission.”

In addition to the entrepreneurs invited to demo their companies, the White House honored several successful entrepreneurs during the event. 1871’s veteran-focused Bunker Labs, an accelerator based out of 1871 that focuses on creating opportunities for veteran entrepreneurs, as well as 1871 member company FoodTrace, will be honored for their entrepreneurial achievements.

“Bunker Labs is committed to fostering opportunities for veterans who are coming together to connect, engage, and create businesses,” said Bunker Labs CEO Todd Connor. “The response and national interest has been extraordinary, and we were excited to join the White House today in continuing to promote veteran entrepreneurship.”

“As the Google for Entrepreneurs/Code2040 Entrepreneur In Residence at 1871, I am excited to participate in today’s conversation on promoting diversity in entrepreneurship,” said FoodTrace founder Riana Lynn. “Greater inclusion in entrepreneurship provides an incredible opportunity to foster economic growth that improves all communities, and I look forward to promoting this inclusion with my company and in my role as an EIR at 1871.”

To view the full list of announcements around entrepreneurship made during the White House Demo Day, visit

About Export Abroad
Export Abroad is changing the way international trade is done. By connecting international manufacturers to new partners across the globe, we continue to democratize international trade and make global markets more accessible. We started as a simple idea between two guys working in logistics to reduce the hurdles to be a global company and are now building a leading platform in export management and international sales. Export Abroad continues to expand globally for any and all manufacturers to achieve their business goals.

About Impact Engine
Impact Engine is an investment fund that empowers entrepreneurs, mentors, and investors to make a positive impact on society. Through financial and human capital, Impact Engine helps for-profit businesses address the world’s greatest social and environmental challenges by identifying and supporting promising, early stage, tech-enabled companies creating positive impact through a product or service.

About Bunker Labs
Bunker Labs is the nation’s first veterans-exclusive technology business accelerator that harnesses the leadership experiences of veterans as a strategic differentiator for startup and early stage veteran-owned, technology-enabled businesses. It is a veteran-operated, veteran-focused effort with an emphasis on finding and offering entry points into the technology community. Bunker Labs looks to explore and tap into the significant resources already available to veterans from government organizations while emphasizing and amplifying the skills our veterans have developed while serving in the military.

About FoodTrace
FoodTrace makes it easier for food businesses to operate. We provide our clients with the data and tools to search, discover, and connect with food producers, distributors, and buyers, along with a powerful system to manage their business relationships. The FoodTrace website provides interactive profiles of subscribing producers — mainly farmers and food artisans — that show the products they offer, their locations, the geographical range of their market, and other data. It also shows profiles of subscribing trade buyers, including products they are seeking and other relevant information.

About the Google for Entrepreneurs/Code2040 EIR Program
The CODE2040 Residency, powered by Google for Entrepreneurs, is designed to empower Black and Latino/a entrepreneurs to take their companies to the next level while also taking their communities to the next level. Three Google for Entrepreneurs Tech Hubs - Capital Factory in Austin, 1871 in Chicago, and American Underground in Durham – were selected to pilot the program by working with an Entrepreneur in Residence (EIR). EIRs get support from CODE2040, Google for Entrepreneurs, and from the tech hubs, which are all committed to creating and growing strong, diverse, and inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystems in the cities they call home.

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