Welcome to 1871

1871 is Chicago’s entrepreneurial hub for digital startups. Located in the famed Merchandise Mart, the 50,000-square-foot facility provides Chicago startups with programming, access to mentors, educational resources, potential investors and a community of like-minded entrepreneurs that help them on their path to building successful businesses. 1871 is the flagship project of the CEC.

The story of the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 isn’t really about the fire. It’s about what happened next: A remarkable moment when the most brilliant engineers, architects and inventors came together to build a new city. Their innovations – born of passion and practical ingenuity – shaped not just Chicago, but the modern world. What started 140 years ago continues to this day.

Chicago’s brightest digital designers, engineers and entrepreneurs are shaping new technologies, disrupting old business models, and resetting the boundaries of what’s possible. If that sounds like you, join us.

Come to a place where you can share ideas, make mistakes, work hard, build your business and, with a little luck, change the world.

Welcome to 1871.

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