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DePaul University joins 1871, the nation’s largest entrepreneurial technology incubator

1871 sign
DePaul University is opening a dedicated space at 1871, Chicago’s prestigious entrepreneurial technology hub. (Photo by Carol Hughes)
CHICAGO — With a commitment to innovation, quality education and providing real-world experiences to students, DePaul University is opening a dedicated space at 1871, Chicago’s prestigious entrepreneurial technology hub. The collaboration gives DePaul students, faculty members and alumni access to 1871’s programming, special events, workshops, lectures, and provides networking opportunities with industry thought leaders.

“Having a presence at 1871 is important to connect DePaul to the rest of the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Chicago,” said Bruce Leech, executive director of DePaul’s Coleman Entrepreneurship Center. “1871 provides all of the vital resources in one space — from business networking and mentorship to legal and financial support that can help students and alumni get their businesses started.”

Faculty members also will have an opportunity to become mentors to 1871 members and showcase their research by conducting meetings in DePaul’s dedicated space, holding workshops and classes in 1871 facilities, and providing content for 1871’s members, Leech added.

As part of University Row, DePaul joins the University of Chicago, Northwestern University, Loyola University, University of Illinois, DeVry University, and Illinois Institute of Technology at 1871. Each of the universities will participate in Campus 1871, a springtime, weekend-long event that brings together the best and brightest from each of the partner universities to create their own startups with like-minded university students.

“This partnership has been a long time coming and we are thrilled that DePaul is formally joining the 1871 community,” said 1871 CEO Howard A. Tullman. “Our partnerships with universities are one of 1871’s biggest advantages and offerings, and DePaul is a crucial addition to this fold. We look forward to welcoming people from around the DePaul family to 1871.”

Four academic units at DePaul will be a part of the collaboration with 1871: the Coleman Entrepreneurship Center in the Driehaus College of Business, College of Computing and Digital Media, College of Law, and Academic Affairs.

“The College of Computing and Digital Media has always had an innovative and entrepreneurial culture,” said David Miller, dean of the college. “The partnership and access to 1871's resources takes this one step further and allows our students to learn from the experiences of successful startups and to find partners to realize their own innovative ideas.”

"It is important for the College of Law to be a key partner in this collaboration. We recognize that law, business and technology are inextricably intertwined in today's world, and lawyers and law students need to problem solve in contexts — like the ones offered at 1871 — where those disciplines all come together,” said Dean Jennifer Rosato Perea of the College of Law.  

DePaul’s colleges and schools have distinguished reputations for preparing graduates to work, succeed and contribute in the global community. The university’s tradition of providing a quality education to students from a broad range of backgrounds, with particular attention to first-generation students, has resulted in one of the nation’s most diverse student bodies. Graduates of DePaul are urban educated, giving them access to connect with a robust network of thought leaders from across the globe and providing them with real-world experiences. For more about DePaul University, visit

“I am proud to be an alumni of DePaul University because of its diversity and close connections with the community,” said DePaul alumnus and 1871 member, Zakery Kates. “I am thrilled that DePaul is joining 1871 — another vibrant community. I am certain this partnership will result in exciting opportunities for many people and have an enormous impact on Chicago.”

Kates, a 2013 graduate of DePaul, also expressed his excitement for upcoming opportunities to get involved with alumni activities and potential mentoring activities with current DePaul students wishing to establish a career in the tech.

1871 is the home of more than 400 early-stage, high-growth digital startups. Located in The Merchandise Mart, this 130,000 square foot facility is also the headquarters of nationally recognized accelerators Techstars Chicago and the Good Food Business Accelerator; impact investing fund Impact Engine; half a dozen industry-specific incubators in key areas such as real estate, education technology, food and financial technology; several emerging tech talent schools (Fullstack Academy, Anyone Can Learn to Code, Future Founders, Designation and the Startup Institute), and the state's leading technology advocate, the Illinois Science and Technology Coalition. It is the second home to Chicago-based VCs, Pritzker Group Venture Capital, MATH Venture Partners, Hyde Park Angels, OCA Ventures, OurCrowd and Chicago Ventures, as well as satellite offices for Northwestern University, University of Illinois, University of Chicago, Loyola University Chicago, Illinois Institute of Technology, and DeVry. 1871 has fast become recognized as the hub for the city’s entrepreneurial/technology ecosystem and has been featured in Inc. Magazine, TechCrunch, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Chicago Tribune and Crain’s Chicago Business among other top media. 1871 is the flagship project of the Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center. For more about 1871, visit


Media Contacts: 
Wendy Smit, DePaul University