Chicago's 15 Best Startup Accelerators & Incubators [2021]

Chicago's 15 Best Startup Accelerators & Incubators [2021]

Are you looking for an accelerator program in Chicago city?

Did you know that according to UrbanBound, Chicago is the most ideal location for a startup and the tech industry is booming?

If you're starting a startup in Chicago, you might be wondering what startup accelerators or incubators exist in the area. Here's the full list:

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1. Cleveland Avenue

  • Location: Chicago

  • Industry: Food Tech

  • Investment Size: ~Not Disclosed

  • Program: ~Not Disclosed

Cleveland Avenue is an accelerator program that deals with early and later-stage food tech and beverage startups. This program accelerates the growth of entrepreneurs and their businesses. They strategically invest in innovative food industry startup ideas and provides them necessary tools and capital investment. Cleveland Avenue also supports entrepreneurs by providing them unparalleled expertise and resources.

Apply to Cleveland Avenue, or learn more ➜

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2. 1871

  • Location: Chicago

  • Industry: Digital and Technology

  • Investment Size: ~Not Disclosed

  • Program: ~3 Months

1871 is the most recognizable tech hub of Chicago. This 3-month digital startup incubator program provides co-working space, mentorship, education, programming, hosts events and workshops for entrepreneurs. They support early and growth-stage business startups and helps them in building an extraordinary business. In 1871 program, startups can propel their business forward with the guidance of top mentors, investors, universities, and corporate partners.

Apply to 1871, or learn more ➜

3. Chicago Blockchain Center

  • Location: Chicago

  • Industry: Blockchain Technology

  • Investment Size: ~Not Disclosed

  • Program: ~Not Disclosed

Chicago Blockchain Center is an accelerator program in Chicago focusing on blockchain-enabled technology startups. This non-profit program is devoted to the education, adoption, and promotion of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology. Its mission is to elevate, collaborate and educate startups about blockchain technology. They also provide startups with strategic partners, interaction, and networking with investors and other important players of the blockchain ecosystem.

Apply to Chicago Blockchain Center, or learn more ➜

4. WiSTEM

  • Location: Chicago

  • Industry: Technology Industry

  • Investment Size: ~Not Disclosed

  • Program: ~12 Weeks

WiSTEM or Women in STEM is a program that empowers and encourages women entrepreneurs in the field of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. This program connects woman-based startups to capital, resources, and the industrial community so that they can take their business to new heights. To date, this 12-week accelerator program has created around 715 jobs and has graduated more than 120 companies.

Apply to WiSTEM, or learn more ➜

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5. Bunker Labs

  • Location: Chicago

  • Industry: All Industries

  • Investment Size: ~Not Disclosed

  • Program: ~6 Months

Bunker Labs is an accelerator program that is owned and operated by military veterans. This non-profit program helps entrepreneurs and small business owners launch, grow, and scale their business firm once they return to civilian life. Through this program, service members are connected to the resources, practical tools, and investments necessary for the business's growth. The main motto of this program is to help the military community to fulfill their entrepreneurial dreams.

Apply to Bunker Labs, or learn more ➜

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6. 2112

  • Location: Chicago

  • Industry: Music, Film, and Creative Tech Industry

  • Investment Size: ~Not Disclosed

  • Program: ~Not Disclosed

2112 is the first incubator program in Chicago that focuses on the growth and development of entrepreneurs in the niche of music, video, film, and creative industry. To date, they have provided offline space, capital, and education to nearly 150 startup companies and entrepreneurs. They not only provide mentorship, educational programming, networking with investors, and 1-on-1 meetings with industry professionals to the entrepreneurs but also provide them with various amenities like; breakout rooms, rehearsal space, wireless internet, lounge membership, rooftop deck, kitchen with coffee and snacks, and 24/7 access.

Apply to 2112, or learn more ➜

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7. TechNexus

  • Location: Chicago

  • Industry: Technology Industry

  • Investment Size: ~Not Disclosed

  • Program: ~Not Disclosed

TechNexus is a Venture Collaborative program for tech startups i.e. a unique combination of corporate joint ventures, business firms, private equity funds, and a growing investment portfolio. This incubator program works with tech startups related to health, wellness, computer software, media, and automation, they invest and helps them grow further in the industry. They have a unique model of working by which they have helped more than 600 startups to date and have raised a funding of $1.5B for them.

Apply to TechNexus, or learn more ➜

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8. mHUB

  • Location: Chicago

  • Industry: Digital and Technology

  • Investment Size: ~Not Disclosed

  • Program: ~30 Weeks

mHub accelerates commercialization for hard tech entrepreneurs and startups by removing barriers, solving challenges, and helping them to build a sustainable business. This non-profit innovation center focuses on physical product development and manufacturing, and they work with businesses that are in the early stage of their startups. They provide startups with a network of industry mentors, investors, and experts, technical training, comprehensive business leadership, and unparalleled resources like prototyping lab, talent pipelines, and micro-factory.

Apply to mHUB, or learn more ➜

9. Matter

  • Location: Chicago

  • Industry: Healthcare Industry

  • Investment Size: ~Not Disclosed

  • Program: ~Not Disclosed

Matter is a startup incubator program that brings together and forms a community of healthcare entrepreneurs, industry leaders, healthcare systems, investors, experts, and industry executives. They focus on improving lives, advancing care, and accelerating innovation. This incubator program helps startups of early, middle, and later-stage to solve and overcome healthcare problems through connections and collaborations.

Apply to Matter, or learn more ➜

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10. Workbox

  • Location: Chicago

  • Industry: All Industries

  • Investment Size: ~Not Disclosed

  • Program: ~Not Disclosed

Workbox is an accelerator program that helps both early and growth-stage startups to build and scale respectively. To early-stage startups, they provide community networks, strategic services, and mentorship that are necessary for their faster growth, whereas to growth-stage startups they provide resources that will help them to scale their business to new heights. Here at Workbox, startups will also be provided with hands-on help with operations and finance, mentorship, co-working space, 1-on-1 meeting opportunities with investors and strategic leaders, and networking opportunities, hence all the comprehensive support helps the business enterprise to succeed.

Apply to Workbox, or learn more ➜

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11. FinTank

  • Location: Chicago

  • Industry: FinTech Industry

  • Investment Size: ~Not Disclosed

  • Program: ~12 Months

FinTank is a year-long accelerator program that is focused on providing hands-on support and access to various resources and networks to FinTech startups. Its main aim is to bring together contributors of the FinTech ecosystem and support the development of new financial technologies that will transform the world. They host a wide range of events, programs, workshops, and seminars to educate startups about new technologies and create a network with leading industry officials and investors, and hence leading to ultimate success.

Apply to FinTank, or learn more ➜

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12. Polsky Accelerators

  • Location: Chicago

  • Industry: Technology Industry

  • Investment Size: ~Not Disclosed

  • Program: ~10 Weeks

Polsky Accelerator program allows the student teams of the University of Chicago to work solely and intensively on their business enterprise in a dynamic and collaborative environment. They provide them with world-class business advice and expertise to bring new business ideas and breakthrough innovations to the market. Participating student groups are offered entrepreneurship education, mentorship, funding and scholarship, tech commercialization, fabrication lab, industry, and partnership relations. They also host various programs, events, and Polsky podcasts that will lead to the ultimate success of business ventures.

Apply to Polsky Accelerators, or learn more ➜

13. Healthbox

  • Location: Chicago

  • Industry: Healthcare Industry

  • Investment Size: ~Not Disclosed

  • Program: ~Not Disclosed

Healthbox is an accelerator program that helps health-tech startups with the validation of their business models and disruptive potential tests. They help healthcare organizations innovate and accelerate their organizational growth through consulting services and strategic investment. They host various programs and provide innovative strategies necessary for the support and delivery of care.

Apply to Healthbox, or learn more ➜

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14. INCISENT Labs

  • Location: Chicago

  • Industry: Technology Industry

  • Investment Size: ~Not Disclosed

  • Program: ~Not Disclosed

INCISENT Labs is a program that focuses on shifting the world from the industrial age to the information age. They incubate new, innovative, and advanced technologies and spin them out into a fast-growing technology company. The team at INCISENT Labs specializes in creating prototype products and make them reach optimal market-fit, once the product is ready they transform it into a startup company through Series A funding and make it ready for dramatic growth in the industry.

Apply to INCISENT Labs, or learn more ➜

Pat Walls,  Founder of Starter Story

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