Incubator Focuses on Women-Owned Tech Startups


The word “innovation” gets tossed around a lot in the technology industry. But what actually goes into the development of innovative ideas and technologies that help drive the space forward at break-neck speed? A new incubator based in Chicago aims to provide a physical space, along with support and tools, to encourage progress from a specific group of tech innovators—female entrepreneurs.

This week, 1871,, an “entrepreneurial hub for digital startups” located in Chicago’s 50,000-sq.ft. Merchandise Mart, announced 1871 FEMtech, a Chicago-based incubator that will cater to women-owned technology startups. 1871 FEMtech’s goal will be to facilitate opportunities for female entrepreneurs by providing access to mentors, educational resources, potential investors, and, most importantly, a supportive community.

The project is a collaboration between 1871, Google, the Lefkofsky Family Foundation, and the Motorola Mobility Foundation. The organizations say 1871 FEMtech is part an effort by Google for Entrepreneurs to reduce the gender gap in technology by increasing the participation of women in the space. Google for Entrepreneurs’ #40Forward initiative aims to launch 40 female-focused incubators.

1871 says the FEMtech incubator, which will open in the fall of 2014, will feature 10-15 women-owned tech businesses from around the world. The businesses will be co-located in order to create a community of like-minded entrepreneurs and to encourage a sort of “cross-pollination” that could accelerate the development of ideas. Through this concentrated effort to provide mentorship, training, and immersion in an innovative world of entrepreneurs, 1871 FEMtech supporters hope to maximize participants’ opportunities for success.

Described as a “land of opportunity” for women-owned tech startups, the new incubator could be the extra push these businesses need to bring new ideas, products, and solutions to the market. For the technology industry as a whole, incubators offer a unique opportunity to unlock untapped potential that could result in forward progress.

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