Disrupt the Midwest.

November 10 - 11, TechNexus Space - Chicago

Forge is a startup weekend focused on connecting the Midwest’s most innovative students and inspire the country’s next industry leaders. The event is student-run and student-focused, with a startup competition and a focus on disruptive dialogue between Chicago’s entrepreneurs and established firms on how we move forward with breakthroughs in every field.


What is Forge?

Forge is a startup conference and competition. On Saturday we'll have a day full of mentoring, workshops, networking, and pitch preparation. On Sunday, we'll be bringing in investors from VCs around the city to evaluate your pitch and allocate prizes!

What's in it for you?

Forge builds strong friendships and sustainable businesses that last even after the event is over. We want to build a community of hustlers and connect the Midwest.

Cash Prizes: Prizes to be announced soon!
Connections: At Forge, you'll meet startups from across the Midwest - you're bound to find someone you connect with.
Mentoring: Saturday is focused on connecting you with people who can help you scale. Mentors and judges come on their own time to the event because they care about startups and aiding entrepreneurs - these can become lifelong friends, advisers, and investors.

Will there be food?

Absolutely! We will have a constant supply of snacks, caffeine, and food – you take care of your startup, we'll take care of you.

Is it overnight?

This isn't a hackathon, and we believe the best ideas come when you're fully awake. The event won't be staffed overnight, but you're welcome to work as much as you'd like out of the venue.

404: Question not found?

Feel free to email us at team@founders.illinois.edu


How should I prepare?

All you need is your team and a slide deck ready for pitches on Sunday!

Where can I stay?

We've booked hotel rooms at the La Quinta Inn about a block away from the venue for remote students, and will inform you of room assignments with your RSVP.

How do I get there?

We will be providing transportation for UIUC startups, though if you're a remote attendee and in need of travel reimbursement we may be able to accomodate your request.

When does the event start and end?

Check-in starts at 11:00 AM on Saturday, November 10th. The event ends around 6:30 PM on Sunday, November 11th.

What should I bring?

A laptop, charger, slide deck, and passion should be enough!


Who should apply?

Forge is open to students of all majors and ages. We strongly believe that entrepreneurship isn’t tied to a major – anyone with a passion to solve a problem can build a startup.

When will I hear back?

Applications will be evaluated on a rolling basis. If you haven't heard back before November 1st, send us an email at team@founders.illinois.edu

Do I have to be a student?

The event is focused on student entrepreneurs, but recent grads are welcome to apply and we'll be taking a few!

Day 1: Connect

Workshops / Talks

Day 2: Pitch


Speakers and mentors announced soon!