The winners of the 2017 Chicago Innovation Awards joined President Preckwinkle on February 20 for a round table discussion about their innovations and the positive impact they could have for the County and our region.  In our photo, President Preckwinkle is surrounded by the award winners, along with Howard Males, Board Member, (to her left front row), and Tom Kuczmarski, Founder, Chicago Innovation (to her right front row). In the far right hand side of the photo are: Luke Tanen, Executive Director, Chicago Innovation and Paul Kitti, Chicago Innovation staff.


“Each year award winners make important connections to County leadership,” said Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle.  “As County Board President, I am committed to creating a climate that makes it more likely that people like you — entrepreneurs, inventors, business owners and investors — will choose our region as a place to launch and grow your businesses. ”  View video of the event.


In her remarks, President Preckwinkle noted some important points:
  • Innovation is vital to the growth and competiveness of the economy.
  • Over 6,000 people attended all of the Chicago Innovation events in 2017.
  • Thirty-eight of the winners have been acquired with total exit values now exceeding $77 billion.


Connections and networks are the hallmarks of the new economy.  With that in mind, many Bureau and Department Chiefs from the County also attended.   An informative cross section of ideas were shared and networks were expanded. To find out more about the winners and their innovations, go to the Chicago Innovation website: