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Sterling Bay’s Prysm Institute and DePaul University Launch Entrepreneurship Initiative

Supporting Students, Faculty and Alumni Seeking to Start Healthcare, Life Sciences and Tech Companies in Chicago

St. Vincent's Circle on DePaul University's Lincoln Park Campus
A new initiative with Sterling Bay's Prysm Institute will give DePaul student, faculty, staff and alumni entrepreneurs access to industry executives and investors with a proven record of success. (DePaul University/Jeff Carrion)
CHICAGO — Prysm Institute, a virtual business incubator and accelerator founded by Chicago real estate development firm Sterling Bay, and DePaul University, the city’s largest private university, are pleased to announce a new initiative that will match student, faculty, staff and alumni entrepreneurs in the healthcare, life sciences and technology sectors with respected industry leaders and experienced investors to provide access to mentorship, capital and operational consultation. The initiative will create a unique professional community in Chicago that fosters collaboration in these growing sectors of business and drives the creation and expansion of innovative startups.

By participating in this initiative, DePaul student, faculty, staff and alumni entrepreneurs will gain access to industry executives and investors with a proven record of success in supporting startups, generating opportunities for feedback on pitch presentations, business operations and more. The program’s industry executive and investor participants will donate their time to advise and mentor DePaul entrepreneurs as they advance new business ventures in Chicago, each serving one 12-month term on a pro-bono basis.

Prysm Institute
Sterling Bay's Prysm Institute has a location on Halsted Street, near DePaul's Lincoln Park Campus. DePaul’s new initiative with Prysm Institute will include opportunities for one-on-one and small team meetings, salon events, networking opportunities and various other types of programming. (Image courtesy of Sterling Bay)

“Since its inception, Prysm Institute’s primary focus has been on accelerating the positive impact of healthcare, life sciences and tech companies in Chicago by connecting local entrepreneurs to mentorship and capital,” said Dr. James Gillespie, PhD, JD, MPA, executive director of Prysm Institute. “By combining our network of experienced mentors and investors with DePaul’s world-class entrepreneurial talent pool, Prysm Institute can further its mission to facilitate the growth of these critically important industries both in Chicago and across the country.”

This new initiative will recruit entrepreneur participants and executive leaders to one of three categories, creating a dynamic mix of field experts and bringing together brilliant minds at various stages of the entrepreneurship journey. The categories are:

  • The Entrepreneur: Qualified individuals will have at least one successful experience in building a healthcare, life sciences or technology startup. 
  • The Executive: C-suite-level experts who have current or former experience at a top-ranking healthcare, life sciences or technology company.
  • The Investor: Qualified individuals with a proven track record of successfully investing in multiple startups.

“DePaul has an exceptional reputation for providing an educational experience that prepares students to be successful in their professional endeavors and keep a heart for service,” said Steve Stoute, JD, vice president for strategic initiatives and chief of staff at DePaul. Our learning community embraces a culture of creativity and discovery, so we’ve partnered with Sterling Bay’s Prysm Institute, another organization with deep roots in Chicago, to create an initiative that harnesses these characteristics. Together we will focus on supporting our students, faculty, staff and alumni entrepreneurs, at whatever stage of their journey, who come from diverse backgrounds and are dedicated to making meaningful contributions to our nation’s healthcare system and local startup community.”

DePaul brings a strong entrepreneurship infrastructure to this initiative, with classroom learning that connects students with Chicago’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. Across the university, faculty strive to promote an inclusive environment that supports diverse people and ideas. The university’s centers and institutes bring together scholars from across academic disciplines and community-based organizations to cultivate transformative research and innovations. Data scientists, designers, entrepreneurs and public health experts at DePaul have worked together to address health disparities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

DePaul’s new initiative with Prysm Institute will include opportunities for one-on-one and small team meetings, salon events, networking opportunities and various other types of programming.

“As Sterling Bay continues to expand its life sciences division, building high-quality, flexible lab space to boost Chicago’s visibility amongst global life sciences leaders, we are also putting significant time and resources into developing the strong pipeline of life sciences startups that are born right here in our own backyard,” said Dr. Suzet McKinney, Principal, Director of Life Sciences at Sterling Bay. “Our goal with Prysm Institute and its new initiative with DePaul is to support the university’s incredible entrepreneurial pool, providing them with the tools they need to grow right here in their hometown, ultimately retaining that talent and intellectual capital in Chicago for years to come.”

About Prysm Institute
Prysm Institute is a virtual incubator and accelerator for emerging and established healthcare, life sciences, and technology companies. Led by executive director Dr. James Gillespie, PhD, JD, MPA, and founded in partnership with commercial real estate development company, Sterling Bay, the organization’s mission is to help create, scale, and sustain leading-edge companies, accelerating each one’s pace of innovation and ability to deliver positive impact in its respective industry. To learn more about Prysm Institute and its ongoing programming, visit

About Sterling Bay
Sterling Bay is a Chicago-based real estate investment and development company with expertise spanning all aspects of real estate ownership. Known for creating world-class urban campuses for companies such as Google, McDonald's, WPP, Dyson and Tyson Foods, Sterling Bay is consistently recognized for award-winning projects that transform space, enhance communities, and strengthen a company's culture and brand. Sterling Bay's team of more than 200 professionals is responsible for a portfolio exceeding $5 billion, and a development pipeline of more than $10 billion. For more information, visit

About DePaul University
DePaul was founded in Chicago in 1898 by the Congregation of the Mission (Vincentians), a Roman Catholic religious community dedicated to following the ideals of St. Vincent de Paul, the 17th century priest for whom the university is named. DePaul’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. With nearly 22,000 students and some 300 academic programs, DePaul is the largest Catholic university in the United States and the largest private, nonprofit university in the Midwest. It is nationally recognized for incorporating service learning throughout its curriculum and preparing its graduates for a global economy. More information is available at


Media contact:
Kristin Claes Mathews