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Chicago Tech Community Celebrates the Power of 10X Thinking at the 10th Annual Momentum Awards Dinner

Last Thursday evening November 2, more than 1000 of the Chicago tech and entrepreneurial community's best and brightest gathered together to celebrate the landmark 10th Annual Momentum Awards Dinner, hosted by 1871 and Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center (CEC). The evening culminated in the presentation of six awards to deserving leaders and companies that have made major contributions to the city’s tech ecosystem.  


As all in attendance celebrated the Momentum Dinner's 10th year, they also celebrated and reflected upon the power of 10x, which has catalyzed Chicago tech to tackle the world's biggest challenges. 10X means exceeding all expectations and producing results tenfold. It means not just measuring miles-per-hour, but the rate of acceleration. 10X is focusing on revolutionary change, rather than evolutionary change. It is discovering new ways to achieve exponential growth. 



The 2017 awardees and winners are:

  • Corporate Champion AwardMcDonald's Corporation — Recognizes a corporation or business that has made an impact through community focused efforts throughout the Chicagoland area. Past recipients include A.T. Kearney (2015) and Comcast (2016). 
  • Entrepreneurial Champion Award: James O'Connor, Jr., CEC Chairman of the Board and Global Head of Venture Capital, William Blair — Given to an individual entrepreneur to recognize his or her personal dedication to the Chicago tech community through mentorship, civic leadership and economic contributions. Past recipients include Jai Shekhawat, Jeff Aronin, J.B. Pritzker, Richard Melman, Tom Ricketts, Gordon and Carol Segal, Michael Ferro, Brad Keywell and Eric Lefkofsky.
  • Chicagoness Award: Lupe Fiasco, music artist and entrepreneur — Bestowed upon individuals or companies that exemplify the values of the Chicago entrepreneurial community, which include hard work, inclusion and commitment to collective opportunity. Past recipients include Impact Engine (2015) and Outcome Health (formerly ContextMedia) Co-Founders Shradha Agarwal and Rishi Shah (2016).
  • Lifetime Achievement in Entrepreneurship Award: Howard A. Tullman, CEO, 1871 — A new honor that will periodically recognize a serial entrepreneur or businessperson who has left a significant, long-term and permanent mark on the Chicago community through his or her business and civic contributions.
  • Rising Star Award: Tock — Awarded to a company with significant growth potential that is less than five years old. The other 2017 finalists were Keeper, SnapSheet, Narrative ScienceG2 Crowd and SpotHero. The 2016 winner was Civis Analytics
  • Merrick Momentum Award: tastytrade — Awarded to a company that is on track to become one of the next great companies to emerge from Chicago. The 2017 other finalists were BallotReady, ThinkCERCA, and Catalytic. Past recipients of the Momentum Award include Avant, Relativity (formerly kCura), Braintree, GrubHub, Eved, SAVVOand most recently, @properties.

Guests were also called upon to participate in the recently announced ChiBuys program, an initiative which supports local, women- and minority-owned event catering vendors in the goal of making conscientious and intentional purchasing a city-wide endeavor. Check out the announcement to learn more. 

See the videos below which were featured during the program:

McDonald's Corporation as the Corporate Champion:


Howard A. Tullman's lifetime of achievements and tech, business, and civic contributions: 


Lupe Fiasco's community-focused endeavors, fostering inclusion and collective opportunity: 


James O'Connor, Jr.'s contributions towards the Chicago entrepreneurial ecosystem: 


The Momentum finalists:


More videos from the event will be made available in the upcoming weeks. 

To learn more about Momentum and get involved for next year's event, visit or email

Topics: News, Events, Community

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