SPARK Chicago, a new entrepreneurial competition, intends to help create three new businesses. SPARK invites applicants who have a web-based or mobile application idea to apply to its program, which entails six days of intense incubation. Ideas from all industries are accepted.
The winners receive over $100,000 of donated business services, mentorship from leading entrepreneurs, and all 60 participants have the chance to pitch live in front of angel and venture capital firms who will be judging the competition. The final winner will receive a large cash grant up to $10,000 (no repayment). Confirmations of judges will be announced until competition day.
“This is about doing, not talking.” says Maliha Mustafa, one of the co-founders of SPARK Chicago. “We want to help support the entrepreneurial community in Chicago, and hope this can become an annual event.” SPARK Chicago has lined up leading service providers, including legal, programming, development, and creative teams to provide their expertise.
Applications will be reviewed as they are received, and the application period closes on July 1st. Applying is free. Candidates will be notified in mid-July whether they are accepted into the competition. The actual competition, which will be held from July 22 to July 27, takes place in Merchandise Mart. Participants will form teams over a weekend, decide on an idea and business model, build a working prototype, and pitch Sunday night. The judging and pitch night is open to the public, and SPARK invites all to attend at the Merchandise Mart. SPARK Chicago anticipates the event will close with an accomplished keynote speaker.
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