Mayor Rahm Emanuel and ThinkChicago are proud to assist in the launch of Global Entrepreneur-In-Residence (EIR) programs at five Chicago-area universities. The programs will provide opportunities for immigrant entrepreneurs to start or grow their companies in Chicago. Through partnerships with these university, entrepreneurs can more easily apply for a visa in order to grow their company. These new businesses will become an important part of Chicago’s start-up ecosystem, supporting the universities and the Chicago community with mentorship and job opportunities.
Global Entrepreneur In Residence (Global EIR) enables the world’s most innovative entrepreneurs to continue to choose the United States as the best place to build their businesses and create jobs. We partner with universities to connect entrepreneurs with visas and allow them to grow their companies locally through a service commitment to the local community. Global EIR works with a large number of communities within a region, building bridges and serving as a convening platform to support growing startup ecosystems. We are proud to support efforts that enable women, people of color, and first-generation college students to acquire the skills they need to get their first internships and jobs in the tech industry.
Immigrants are a driving force of entrepreneurship coming out of universities in Illinois. In 2015, “immigrants made up 17.7 percent of the workforce in Illinois, but accounted for 23.1 percent of STEM workers in the state and 22.1 percent of entrepreneurs,” the Illinois Science and Technology Coalition reported in October.
Illinois loses out on $645 million per year by not retaining foreign-born students, a report from the Chicago Coalition for Global Affairs found.