CHICAGO – May 20, 2011. Governor Pat Quinn today launched the Illinois Innovation Network (IIN) to give our entrepreneurs the resources needed to build and grow their businesses and create more jobs. The IIN, which includes business and educational leaders, is the first initiative created by the Governor’s Illinois Innovation Council, a public-private partnership launched in February to accelerate innovative economic development and job creation efforts in the state’s flourishing startup sector.
Also today, the Governor announced Illinois is joining in the national effort to promote high-tech entrepreneurship by connecting the IlN with Startup Illinois, a component of the Startup America Partnership announced by President Obama earlier this year. Startup Illinois will let Illinois-based affiliates and entrepreneurs leverage technology, content and tools to access national resources, and celebrate local startup successes on a national stage.
“Innovation is the key to being competitive in the global marketplace, which is why we must do everything we can to help our businesses develop new and innovative ideas and technologies,” said Governor Quinn. “Given our commitment to fostering innovation and helping businesses grow, it is only fitting that Startup America chose Illinois as its first Startup region.”
The Governor announced the creation of the IIN today at Chicago’s Merchandise Mart with members of the state’s vibrant startup community. The IIN is a new effort to nurture creativity in the state’s high-tech entrepreneurial sector, and galvanize collaboration between companies, educational institutions and community leaders to create sustainable jobs in the cutting-edge industries of the future. The Governor also unveiled the Network’s website, www.IllinoisInnovation.com, which will be expanded over the summer, to serve as a one-stop-shop for connecting entrepreneurs to services.
“There is nothing more important for Illinois’ economic future than creating an environment throughout the state that encourages innovation and entrepreneurship on a daily basis. Governor Quinn and I both believe that Illinois has all of the assets and attributes to continue thriving on the world stage, but we must keep pushing the envelope in both the public and private sector to make this a reality,” Illinois Innovation Council Brad Keywell said.
“Illinois has already built an incredibly promising ecosystem for entrepreneurs, due to the great work of organizations like the Illinois Innovation Council and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity,” said Scott Case, CEO of the Startup America Partnership. “We’re thrilled to work with Startup Illinois as the first local organization to utilize our resources and reach. Ultimately, entrepreneurs in Illinois will have access to not only a national platform through the Partnership, but exposure to the best practices of successful startup regions from across the country.”
The Illinois Innovation Council is chaired by Groupon Co-Founder and Director Brad Keywell and is made up of key business executives across a variety of critical sectors, along with science, technology and university leaders. The council’s mission is to promote, develop and attract innovation-driven enterprises and individuals to Illinois and to also develop policies to cultivate and retain entrepreneurs, innovative researchers and other enterprises.
Governor Quinn created the council based on a recommendation by the Governor’s Economic Recovery Commission. For more information please visit www.IllinoisInnovation.com.