The Illinois Innovation Index released a study on the record-breaking trends in Illinois startups. A key finding reveals that, “Illinois universities produced more than 800 startups from 2012-2016, nearly 100% more than 2009-2013.” This positive trend is not only true to University of Illinois initiatives, but to a wide array of universities across the state. According to the Illinois Innovation Index, this skyrocketing increase makes evident that, “It is now up to the state to provide these companies with the resources they need to stay in Illinois and help expand the state’s economy.”
The study highlights the extensive entrepreneur initiatives at the University of Illinois, including, “the Cozad New Venture Competition, Illinois Proof-of-Concept Funding Program, and the I-Start Professional Service Assistance Program.” Cast21, a Research Park EnterpriseWorks startup, is mentioned in the “Company Spotlight” section. In an Interview with Chicago Tribune Blue Sky, Cast21’s CEO Ashley Moy acknowledges The University of Illinois’ dedication to startups, explaining, “I don’t think it’s an accident that the technology and entrepreneurship center is housed with the engineering campus. They are learning to be engineers and, by nature, that means you are looking for new innovative ways to solve the world’s issues.” Veriflow, another EnterpriseWorks startup, is also recognized in the “Company Spotlight” section, as well as IllinoisVENTURES, which is the venture capital arm of the University of Illinois.
The Illinois Innovation Index study is coordinated by the Illinois Science & Technology Coalition (ISTC), a member-driven non-profit, nonpartisan organization that cultivates technology-based economic development throughout Illinois. University of Illinois System President Timothy Killeen is currently the Chair of the ISTC Board of Directors.