Influential Chicago tech leaders launch P33 initiative to solidify the city’s startup future

By October 28, 2018

A pair of influential Chicago tech figures announced this week the launching of the P33 initiative that will look to create a stronger startup and tech future for the Windy City.

The ambitious P33 project is the brainchild of Chicago entrepreneur and Ocient founder Chris Gladwin and former U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker. Both Gladwin and Pritzker have come together to attract some 200 business leaders, entrepreneurs, politicians, and tech experts under the common goal of pushing Chicago’s tech scene forward.

“Together, we will harness the collective power of what’s already happening in Chicago today to build momentum for tomorrow,” said Pritzker in a press release. “We plan to make Chicago a magnet for technology’s next era of creators and generate opportunity across all industries for everyone living in our city.”

The initiative is called P33 as an allusion to the Chicago’s 1933 World’s Fair, when the city was at the cultural center of the planet. Leaders of the project want to get Chicago back to that point by 2033.

Along with the rest of the Midwest, Chicago has been on the rise when it comes to tech innovations and startup entrepreneurship. For the past six years, the Windy City has ranked at the top of the leaderboard among US cities receiving foreign direct investment.

It also has a deep pool of talented graduates to choose from and has become a destination for graduates and workers from other areas of the country.

“We are recruiting the best and most diverse thinking essential to generate tangible measures of technological success,” said Gladwin. “Our opportunity to engage people to create change is now, and we will focus on outcomes, continuously tracking the forward progress of our efforts.”

Still, there is room for improvement when it comes to venture capital that the city’s startups pull in, among other areas where it is often outranked by smaller cities.

Chicago’s P33, led in part by the Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago, will be divided into five core components: Talent & Education; Capital & Finance; Business Community & Culture; Government & Infrastructure; and Messaging & Communications.

“The P33 initiative has the potential both to strengthen Chicago’s position as a top-tier tech leader and to grow our economy over the long term for all who live here,” said Kelly Welsh, President of the Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago. “We look forward to helping bring the ideas and vision of P33 to reality.”

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