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Chicago’s 1871 Touts New Family Friendly Incubator for Female-Led Tech Startups

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Chicago’s hub for tech startups will use funding from Google for Entrepreneurs to launch 1871 FEMtech, a new incubator for female-led startups.

By Betsy Mikel (Contributing Writer, Women 2.0)

Google made headlines when it announced it would put $1 million towards female-forward initiatives in tech, and now we’re learning more about the where that money is actually going.

1871 — widely know as the hub of Chicago’s startup scene since the co-working space is home to so many up-and-coming entrepreneurs and hosts many tech events — is using their piece of the Google funding pie to launch a startup incubator for women-founded businesses. They’re calling it 1871 FEMtech.

“For a whole host of reasons, 1871 believes Chicago is the best place in the country for female entrepreneurs to start a business,” 1871 said in an announcement on their website. “So with that in mind, we’re announcing 1871 FEMtech, a cutting-edge incubator program to support the best women-founded businesses from across the nation and around the globe.”

The release also cited the Dow Jones “Women at the Wheel: Do Female Executives Drive Startup Success?” study. Results found that early-stage, female-owned technology businesses are materially more successful than male-directed firms. Both Illinois Governor Pat Quinn and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel spoke to economic benefits and job creation that could come as a result of a diverse technology industry with more female-led companies.

Between 10 and 15 female-owned technology businesses will be part of FEMtech and benefit from the incubator’s female-focused programming, mentorship and training. According to 1871, some of the perks of being part of FEMtech incubator program will include:

  • A flexible and family friendly experience structured around the demands of female entrepreneurs and work-life balance

  • Access and mentorship from some of Chicago’s top female business leaders

  • Access to capital through 1871’s strong connections to the city’s top venture capitalists

“Women-owned technology businesses have grown in number and reach in recent years, and we are hopeful to see more of these exciting companies doing great things as a result of our new incubator,” said Howard A. Tullman, 1871 CEO in a news release.

According to Crain’s Chicago Business, Motorola Mobility Foundation and the Lefkofsky Family Foundation (a private charitable foundation run by Groupon co-founder Eric Lefkofsky and his wife Liz) are joining Google for Entrepreneurs in underwriting FEMtech.

Do you think the work-life balance focus of 1871 FEMtech reinforces the stereotype that women can’t play the man’s entrepreneurship game?

Photo by  jntolva / flickr.

BMikelPhotoSquareBetsy Mikel is a freelance copywriter and content strategist who helps brands, businesses and entrepreneurs tell their stories. A journalist at heart, her curiosity drives her to find something new to learn every single day. Follow her on Twitter at @betsym.