Chicago Cohort

The Chicago Cohort is an innovative pilot program designed to empower local millennials to start businesses. The program offers an expansive set of resources to new and early-stage entrepreneurs between the ages of 18 and 30 who want to explore opportunities to launch and grow businesses in the Chicago community.

Apply for the Chicago Cohort

The application process for the Chicago Cohort pilot will take place during Fall 2017 and the program will take place from January to June 2018. Eligible applicants include millennials age 18-30 regardless of whether they are in school. Whether applicants are currently running a business or still developing an idea, all startup stages are eligible. Candidates should, however, be proactively taking steps to grow their businesses. Here’s how it works.

  1. Apply online. Deadline is November 1, 2017.
  2. Receive coaching. Select applicants will be invited to attend 1-3 coaching sessions to help refine their ideas.
  3. Pitch live. Finalists will pitch their ideas live at a special event on Monday, December 4, 2017.



Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis. Candidates are encouraged to apply early to maximize the coaching they receive.

If you know someone who might be a great fit for the Chicago Cohort, you may submit a recommendation here.

Contact with any questions.

Why should you apply for the Chicago Cohort?

As a member of the Cohort pilot, you’ll be a part of an exclusive community of up-and-coming innovators and change makers representing diverse backgrounds, industries and schools from across Chicagoland.

Cohort members will benefit from:

  • 1-on-1 mentoring by Chicago entrepreneurs, Fellowship alumni and staff
  • Monthly cohort experiences
  • Entrepreneurship summit
  • Goal setting
  • Opportunity to access startup grants
  • Events and resources
  • Unparalleled networking connections
  • Participation in an entrepreneurial peer community

Program Co-Founders

The Chicago Cohort pilot is made possible through a $125,000 grant from the Blackstone Inclusive Entrepreneurship Challenge, which is sponsored by the Blackstone Charitable Foundation, World Business Chicago, and ChicagoNEXT.