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It will come to no surprise that Northwestern University produces graduates who are inventive, insightful and often innovators. Even as early as Freshmen year students are exposed to courses and projects that allow their minds to wander and solve problems. I often get to see evidence of this during the many resumes and cover letters I review everyday for Northwestern students. There are mentions of being a “founder” or “co-creator”. And often times this comes in the form of a student-run and developed business.

Northwestern Student Holdings, InNUvation, LEND are all examples of students being entrepreneurs at NU. These organizations and many of the efforts to help Northwestern be a leader with the Start-up Community in Chicago and beyond are run through the Farley Center for Entrepreneurship.

According to the Director of the Farley Center, Mike Marasco, this is one of the healthiest times for Start-ups in Chicago he has ever seen. Students and alumni interested in getting involved in this community should make note of resources like, Built in Chicago. This organization is meant to be a resource for “digital professionals” working to build great web and mobile businesses. Their mission is to “connect, educate and promote the growing digital community in Chicago”. On the site are job and internship postings as well.

This coming May 23rd, The Farley Center along with the Kellogg School of Management will work together to host a conference for Northwestern students and alumni called Entrepreneur@NU.  The conference, themed “Take a Closer Look” will take part in Norris University Center at Northwestern’s Evanston Campus and feature a Venture Challenge at the end of the day. This will likely be an excellent opportunity for students and alumni to learn more about the successes and challenges of entrepreneurship as well as a method to connect and network with individuals of influence in the start-up community.

Lastly, I wanted to mention Business/Technology Incubators. Given that the process of starting a business and developing new technology isn’t the easiest thing to accomplish, incubators give life and support to many innovators. Research these organizations and you’ll be impressed with their offerings:

1871– Located in the Merchandise Mart, River North, Chicago, IL, this organization says “Come to a place where you can share ideas, make mistakes,
work hard, build your business and, with a little luck,
change the world.”

To find an incubator near you go to http://www.venturechoice.com/articles/incubators.htm