When can I submit a nomination and when is the deadline?

We are accepting nominations for the 2021 Chicago Innovation Awards through July 30th, 2021.

What qualifies me as eligible to nominate my product or service?

To be eligible for a Chicago Innovation Award, the product, service, or company nominated must be:

  • Introduced within the past 4 years.
  • Headquartered in the greater Chicago region, including the northern half of Illinois, southern Wisconsin, and northwest Indiana.
Can I nominate my own company?
Absolutely! A majority of our nominations come from a company nominating their own product or service.
What criteria does the judging committee look at when evaluating nominees?

The judging committee looks at the following criteria:

  • Did the product/service meet an unmet need?
  • How unique is the product/service? Is this the first of its kind? If not, how is it different or better than existing products/services?
  • What new value has been created for the end user?
  • What financial evidence or market acceptance information does the product/service have to support it? What is its quantifiable evidence of success?
If I nominate, will I be able to attend the Nominee Reception?

Yes, all nominees are invited to attend the Nominee Reception.

What is the People’s Choice Award?
After the judges have selected the top 100 finalists, these companies will be eligible for the People’s Choice Award and posted to our site for public voting.
If I submit a nomination, and then later have an important update about my product/service, is it too late to submit this information?

No, please send all updates to paul@chicagoinnovation.com.

How do I know if I am a finalist or a winner?
We will contact you directly to let you know if you are a finalist or a winner.


How do I become a sponsor of Chicago Innovation?

Contact luke@chicagoinnovation.com to learn about sponsorship opportunities.

What types of sponsorship opportunities are available?

Companies can become year-round sponsors of Chicago Innovation, which includes wide-reaching recognition, unique access to the Chicago Innovation community, and more. Or, companies can become sponsors of specific programs, such as the Women Mentoring Co-op, Chicago Student Invention Convention, Ageless Innovators or The Ladder.

Are there any single event sponsorships if I don’t want to sponsor year-round or sponsor a program?

The only single event sponsorship is for our annual Chicago Innovation In-Gala in June. Contact luke@chicagoinnovation.com to learn about sponsorship opportunities for the In-Gala.


How do I become a Member of Chicago Innovation?

You can become a Member today by signing up on the Membership page.

What are the costs and benefits to become a Member of Chicago Innovation?

The cost is $350 and includes the benefits outlined on the Membership page.

How long do Memberships last?

Memberships are on a 12-month cycle. You can choose to renew 12 months after you join as a Member. You can sign up as a new Member anytime.


How do I get invited to a Chicago Innovation event?

Simply sign up for our mailing list and you’ll receive invitations to all of our year-round events

Are your events for Members only?

While our Members receive tickets to each event along with other awesome benefits, you do not have to be a Member to attend. Tickets for most events are available to the general public.

Do you need volunteers for your events?

Yes! Quality volunteers are vital to the success of our events. If you’re interested in volunteering, please fill out the form found here

Mentoring Programs

What do you look for in a mentee?

We are looking for innovators in the Chicagoland area who want to improve their careers and/or businesses with the help of a mentor. We accept people in any industry and title, but we are looking for applicants to have specific goals in mind.

How do I apply?

Applications open in the spring and fall. You can check our Women Mentoring Co-op page, Ageless Innovators page, or The Ladder page to apply.

Subscribe to our newsletter and/or follow us on Facebook to be notified when applications are open.

What is the timing of the program?

All mentoring programs are broken down into two, six month cohorts.

  • Cohort 1 (January to June).
  • Cohort 2 (July to December).
How much does it cost to be in the program?

The cost to participate is $300 for applicants who are accepted into the Women’s Mentoring Co-op and the Ladder, and $150 for applicants who are accepted into Ageless Innovators.

What benefits do mentees receive?
  • 8-10 hours of one-on-one time with one of the Mentors to help you achieve your goals
  • Free tickets to nine Chicago Innovation events
  • Invitation to private lunch-and-learn sessions with accomplished innovators
  • Invitation to private cocktail receptions for Mentors and Mentees
  • Access to Women Mentoring Co-op LinkedIn group to connect with Mentors and Mentees
What benefits do mentors receive?
  • Free tickets to nine Chicago Innovation events
  • Invitation to private cocktail receptions for Mentors and Mentees
  • Access to program LinkedIn groups to connect with Mentors and Mentees
What is required of mentees and mentors?
  • Commit 8-10 hours of one-on-one time with your partner
  • Complete bi-monthly update that includes your progress and overall experience
  • Complete pre/post-participation surveys
How are mentors and mentees paired?

The CI team selects and pairs mentees with their mentors at the same time (versus selecting mentees and then pairing with a mentor). This way, we know that we are making the perfect mentor and mentee match based on the mentees goals and the mentors skills. If a mentee is not selected for a cohort, we ask that they apply again, because we are always adding new mentors, who might be just the right match for them!