Chicago Entrepreneurs Honored at the White House

By November 17, 2011

Chicago-based startups GiveForward and ColorJar have been selected as two of the 2011 Empact100, and will be honored for their accomplishments and positive economic influence in today’s ceremony at the White House in Washington, D.C.

The award, presented by the White House’s Startup America, the Kauffman Foundation, and Empact, recognizes the top 100 companies run by young entrepreneurs — age 30 or younger — that impact the economy and inspire others to start a business of their own.

GiveForward, which was co-founded by Desiree Vargas and Ethan Austin in 2008, provides personalized fundraising pages that empower friends and family to answer the question “What can I do to help?” when a loved one is in need. The site has helped people contribute more than $8 million to those facing out-of-pocket expenses due to medical treatments, funeral costs, natural disasters, and so on.

“We’re honored to be included on the list.  We’d like to throw out some big virtual hugs and high fives to our tireless staff, incredible investors, and Troy and Sam at Excelerate Labs, without whom none of this would be possible.”

ColorJar, founded by David Gardner and Jeff Hoffman, provides strategy consulting as well as web design and development for startups, charities, established companies, and celebrities.

“It’s an honor ColorJar will be recognized at the White House with the Empact100 award for making a positive impact on the US economy. I’m thrilled to accept the award on behalf of the incredible ColorJar team but also as proud members of Chicago’s burgeoning tech and startup community. At ColorJar we spend a lot of time around startups and knowing so many other amazing young entrepreneurs makes this award all the more humbling.”

The list was judged based solely on revenue. The 100 companies on the list are responsible for contributing over 2,500 jobs and more than $374 million in revenue.

The recognition event, which will be held this afternoon (between 2:30-5:00pm EST) at the White House, will be broadcast live at

Congratulations to our friends at GiveForward and ColorJar!