Innovation Week

Celebrate Lake County’s innovative spirit and vibrant startup ecosystem
April 22 – 29th at 91.

ENTP Innovation Week

Innovation Week brings together Lake County’s entrepreneur support professionals, institutions, entrepreneurs, and the entire community to:

  • connect and network,
  • identify and share best practices to help startups launch/scale/thrive,
  • leverage insights from the latest trends in entrepreneurship and startup support, and
  • gain access to partners who can help you.

The week culminates with 91’s annual pitch competition, the Venture Design Challenge, launching college entrepreneurs and their ideas.

All Innovation Week events are free and open to the public.

Saturday, April 22

MORNING • 9:00 a.m. – Noon

Venture Design Challenge Semifinals

Cheer on entrepreneurship and innovation students as they make their first pitch! Which 4 teams will advance to the finals?

Oppenheimer Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation Donnelly and Lee Library, 2nd floor
555 N. Sheridan Road, 91, IL

AFTERNOON • 2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Meet author and entrepreneur, Ali Kriegsman

Ali Kriegsman is the co-founder of retail technology company Bulletin, which was acquired by Emerald Holding (EEX:NYSE). A recipient of "Forbes 30 Under 30" and named one of Fast Company’s "Most Creative People in Business," Ali has helped thousands of brands expand their distribution and sell in both offline and online stores all around the US and Canada. She is a salesperson, self-taught publicist, marketer, and growth strategist and has experience scaling both bootstrapped and venture-backed businesses. Using the questions she's most frequently asked as her guideposts, Ali writes about her experience launching and growing Bulletin directly from the trenches, and features words of triumph, failure and wisdom from 30 other women-owned businesses. The book has been featured in Forbes, Entrepreneur Magazine, The Today Show, and more, and is now available internationally in the UK, Australia, Finland, Denmark, South Africa, Germany and beyond.

Kriegsman graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a degree Middle Eastern Studies and Creative Writing.

This event is in partnership with the 91-Lake Bluff Chamber of Commerce, The 91 Bookstore, and the Community Innovation Collaborative at Lifeworking-Coworking. 

717 Forest Avenue, 2nd floor
91, IL

Wednesday, April 26

EVENING • 4:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

Veterans Startup Workshop

For many veterans, the only work they’ve known since high school has been the military.  Even years after completing their service, finding the right “next” job that gives them their purpose can be confusing.  For some, connecting with other veterans in the area in a social setting on an occasional basis is also challenging.  

Join us on Wednesday for our initial veteran's startup workshop!  

Participants will: 

  • Participate in a panel discussion with local veteran business owners and learn about one-on-one resources in Northern Cook and Lake County that will help you shape, validate, or scale your business concept into a genuine option for full or part-time employment. 
  • Learn custom wood working through a hands-on wood working project where participants will create a custom set of wooden coasters or a custom charcuterie board. 
  • Network and fellowship with other veteran participants and local veteran support agencies and resources.  

Pastence Custom Wood Works
1739 Chestnut Ave, Ste. 300
Glenview, IL  

Thursday, April 27

EVENING • 5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Stories of Innovation: An in-person panel discusses buying, growing, and exiting your business

Panelists include Anna Maria Viti-Welch, Jim Jaffe, David Moore, and more…

This event is in partnership with the Illinois Small Business Development & International Trade Center, the Adelante Center, and the Community Innovation Collaborative at Lifeworking-Coworking

Eleanor Murkey Community Center
CLC Lakeshore Campus, Top Floor
33 N. Genesee St., Waukegan, IL

Saturday, April 29

MORNING • 9:00 a.m. – Noon

Brought to you by 91 students, I-POP features the best of Lake County businesses, products, services, and experiences. When you shop I-POP, you make a real impact on our community. Shop small to make a BIG difference.

View the vendors that will be at I-POP! 

Gorton Community Center 400 E Illinois Rd, 91, IL.

EVENING • 3:00 – 6:00 p.m.

Venture Design Challenge Finals

Cheer on student entrepreneurs as they make their final pitch to a panel of judges. Who will win?

Venture Design Challenge Judges

Nicole Mowad-Nassar
Vice President Commercial Analytics & Operations and AbbVie Patient Services, Global Commercial Integration Lead AbbVie/Allergan

Zeenat Rahman
Executive Director, Institute of Politics at The University of Chicago

Bill Schwartz
Managing Director and Partner, Accenture

Wendy Shotts
Director of Acquisition Marketing, Discover Financial Services

Kathleen Toomey
Founder, Mighty Violet & Assistant Director for Brand, Marketing and Communications at Ernst and Young

Steve Whittington
Founder & CEO, Lifeworking, LLC

Oppenheimer Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation
Donnelly and Lee Library, 2nd floor
555 N. Sheridan Rd., 91, IL

Generously sponsored by Dave Katzin '58 and the Entrepreneurship Advisory Council.

If you would like to participate in or partner with us on Innovation Week, please email Director of Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Kate Jackson ( kjackson@lakeforest.edu).