The Institute of Design was honored to host Mayor Rahm Emanuel, several Chicago area universities and entrepreneurs on Wednesday, March 15, 2017, as he announced the City of Chicago is working with five local universities to create Global Entrepreneur in Residence (Global EIR) programs. These programs will provide pathways to an H-1B visa for highly skilled immigrant entrepreneurs by partnering with local universities to grow their companies in Chicago. In addition to Illinois Tech other participating universities include Columbia College; DePaul University;  Loyola University and Northwestern University.

The press conference was held in the student studio on the 6th floor, where Mayor Emanuel had the opportunity to visit with Dean Denis Weil and Institute of Design student social entrepreneurs, Jenni Schneiderman and Asmina Shaikh. Jenni and Asmina recently started Code for the Kids Hackathon, born out of a collaboration with the Illinois State Department of Health and Human Services. It aimed to design and build technological solutions to improve the lives of foster families.
Through the Global EIR, established entrepreneurs will physically house their company at the university as an affiliate of their center for entrepreneurship or comparable business/innovation hub; supporting the goals of that center through mentor-ship of students interested in entrepreneurship and other forms of engagement. Schools like IIT provide expert mentors and give the founders access to visas they need to build great businesses within the American economy.

The City would partner with participating universities by marketing their GEIR program to potential applicants, and helping create connections with the startup incubator/VC community who may be able to help source prospective program applicants and provide some financial support.

Soon, IIT will be reviewing the GEIR concept, compiling questions, and discussing how design will be prioritized in the program that could be employed by the University in early January of 2018.

More on Chicago’s role in the GEIR program in the Chicago Tribune.