Startup Weekend Chicago - Creative Enterprise Edition

    Friday, March 31 - April 2, 2017

  1. Overview
  2. Schedule
  3. Judges
  4. Coaches and Mentors
  5. Sponsors
  6. Organizing Team
  7. Blog
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Startup Weekend Chicago - Creative Enterprise Edition

Friday, March 31 - April 2, 2017

Friday, March 31 - April 2, 2017
Event starts at 6:30 pm

Conaway Center
1104 S Wabash Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60605

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Bring Your Creative Idea to Life!

We are excited to announce the launch of Startup Weekend Chicago - Creative Enterprise Edition, coming March 2017!

Startup Weekend is a 54-hour event designed to provide superior experiential education for technical and non-technical entrepreneurs. The weekend events are centered on education, innovation and action. 
This particular event focuses explicitly on cultural and art based business ideas that promise to become deliverable and commercially successful. 

We love art & culture, and believe the world has embarked on the creative renaissance. This renaissance, marks an era where high quality art is reaching new heights of social and cultural value. We aim to foster businesses that can transform the creative arts industry into a sustainable, commercially successful system.

Startup Weekend is for people with big ideas, creative minds, visual designers, web developers, coders, marketers, business developers, and any hard working person with a passion and genuine interest in the creative arts.

Stay tuned for more information and early-bird tickets!


Friday March 31st

6:30 pm
Arrive at the venue and get checked in

7:00 pm
Dinner & Networking
Eat food, share ideas, practice pitches, get to know fellow participants

7:20 pm
Welcome & Speakers
Review agenda for the weekend and introduce speakers, coaches, and community leaders

7:30 pm
Pitches Start
Optionally line up to give your pitch

9:00 pm
Attendees vote for the top pitches

9:15 pm
Form Teams
Teams start forming and discussing ideas

10:00 pm
Begin Work
Start to formalize teams and take an inventory of skills. Be honest, and direct about what resources and skills are needed for the weekend. The venue closes at 11pm

Saturday April 1st

9:00 am
Arrive, simple breakfast, tea and coffee

9:00 am
Workshop (optional)
Business Model Canvas workshop (45mins)

9:30 am
Begin Work
Teams formed and setting up workspace for the weekend

12:30 pm

1:00 pm
After-lunch check-in, status reports, call for help

2:00 pm
Coach Meetings
Coaches help teams one-on-one. They are here to help!

6:30 pm

7:30 pm
After-dinner check-in, status reports, call for help

10:00 pm
Finished for the day. Venue closes 11pm sharp.

Sunday April 2nd

9:00 am
Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee

10:00 am
Coaches arrive. Final opportunity to ask questions

12:30 pm

12:30 pm
Coach Meetings
Coaches arrive… ASK QUESTIONS

3:00 pm
Presentation Prep & Tech Check
Final hours of worktime should be focused on perfecting your presentation, tech-check for final presentations also takes place

4:00 pm

5:00 pm
Final Presentations

7:00 pm

7:30 pm
Judging & Awards

8:30 pm

9:00 pm
Go Home!

Event Judges

Matt Kuttan
Senior Vice President/ Creative - Leo Burnett

With over 20 years of experience in a variety of industries connected to advertising, Matt embodies the omni-channel approach to advertising at Leo Burnett. He brings a diverse range of multi-cultural advertising and marketing experiences to his role as Creative Director and has worked at many multi-national creative departments including Saatchi X, Burrell, JWT and BBDO. Managing most aspects of the creative product: from strategic briefs to concepting and execution, his global clients are as varied as Wal-Mart, Coca Cola, P&G, Toyota, PetSmart and Adidas. He has won multiple awards including Cannes, Clios, One Show, Effies and Addys.

He has a degrees in Film from the School of Visual Arts in New York and in writing from Columbia College in Chicago. He has served as an advertising instructor at various universities and has written for numerous publications including the Chicago Tribune.

He eagerly follows the Chicago Cubs, Manchester United and the Indian Cricket Team.

Christie Hefner
Former CEO - Playboy, Chairman - Hatch Beauty

Christie Hefner serves as Chairman of Hatch Beauty, a brand and product innovation company in the personal care space.  She is also on the advisory board of the RDO Companies, a $3 billion family owned agricultural conglomerate.  Before that, she served as Executive Chairman of Canyon Ranch Enterprises, a new division of the renowned wellness lifestyle company created to extend the Canyon Ranch brand via media and business partnerships, and she served on the board of Luminary an e-learning start-up.  

From 1988-2008, Hefner was Chairman and CEO of Playboy Enterprises, Inc., making her the longest serving female CEO of a U.S. public company.  Hefner restructured the company, initiating its highly successful electronic and international expansions, including leading the company onto the Internet, making Playboy the first national magazine on the web.  She also greatly expanded the leveraging of the Playboy brand via licensing, generating close to $1 billion in annual global retail sales, 80% of them in women’s products.  When she left, over 40% of her executives were women.  For three years she was named to FORTUNE’s list of the 100 Most Powerful Women.

Hefner is a passionate advocate of freedom of expression, social justice and equal rights and opportunities for women.  In 1991, she was inducted into the Women's Business Development Center Hall of Fame for "opening doors and building opportunities for all women entrepreneurs."  She was the first woman elected into the Chicago Chapter of the Young Presidents’ Organization.  She has served on the board of advisors for Springboard since 2007, which coaches female led tech start-up organizations and has raised over $6 billion for the companies. 

She also serves on the board of the D.C. based Center for American Progress Action, the leading progressive public policy think tank.

Jimmy Odom
Acting Assistant Director, Illinois Department of Central Management Services

Born and raised on Chicago's South Side, Jimmy Odom is a Chicago serial entrepreneur who also aids the region's non-profits in their pursit of constructive inclusive economic growth programs. Currently serving as the Director of Inclusive Entrpernueship with ChicagoNEXT, a unit within World Business Chicago, with the support of the Blackstone Charitable Foundation, Jimmy helps funds local non-profits developing programs to spur entrepreneurship across all areas of the city. 

Amor Montes De Oca
2112, Director of Strategic Initiatives

Amor Montes de Oca is Director of Strategic Initiatives at 2112, Chicago’s first business incubator focused on the development of entrepreneurs in music, film/video and creative industry technology. Through community, educational opportunities and access to capital, 2112 creates a truly fertile ground for the professional development and acceleration of its members. Responsible for developing member engagement programs and partnerships, including spearheading and developing initiatives as part of 2112's strategic direction and core principles. A passionate leader, combining business acumen, personable demeanor, cultivation and stewardship. Amor is a mother, travel enthusiast, flamenco aficionado, knitting novice and aspiring paintball ninja.

Coaches and Mentors

Kimberly Hall
COO - World Future Society

Kimberly Kyle Hall is the Chief Operating Officer of the World Future Society where she works with futurists in over 82 countries. She is on the Board of Directors of Impact New York, and the Co-Founder of Kalu Yala. She has organized and mentored for over a dozen Startup Weekends including co-founding the Startup Weekend Central America team and Co-Lead for the Startup Weekend New York team. She is an active advisor in global startup scene including judge for several incubator programs, most recently Parallel 18 and Startup Chile.

Ashley Hartman
Principal - Bluestein & Associates

Ashley Hartman is a Principal at Bluestein & Associates, a family office investing in early-stage businesses in food, retail and tech-enabled B2B services. Prior to Bluestein, Ashley was Vice President of Strategy & Operations at Hartman Windows & Doors, where she was responsible for growth strategy, leading expansion across the United States as well as establishing the scalable infrastructure on which to grow.  
Ashley has also worked for Coinstar in Business Development, where she focused on launching and growing their new ventures. After college, Ashley worked for NERA Economic Consulting. Ashley has an MBA from Harvard Business School and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Economy from Williams College.  
Ashley is active in the Chicago community by serving on the board of the Harvard Business School Club of Chicago, where she co-leads the HBS New Venture Competition in Chicago, a competition in which alumni from around the world compete to be the global winner.  She also serves on the board of the American Friends of the Ludwig Foundation, an organization that facilitates cultural connections between the United States and Cuba.  

Anna Maikova
Co-Founder and Marketing Manager - Recordly

Anna Maikova is a marketing professional with the experience in launching new products on the market in the U.S. and abroad. She is Co-Founder of Recordly, an instant transcription app for media professionals.

Kenny Smilovitch
Director - JVS Chicago Duman Entrepreneurship Center

Kenny Smilovitch has 20+ years in entrepreneurship, marketing, and education linking arts, innovation and economic competitiveness to foster positive social change.  Kenny is the current Director of the JVS Chicago Duman Entrepreneurship Center. The Duman Center helps connect entrepreneurs with resources, capital, and mentorship to help businesses develop new markets and grow into sustainable ventures.  Supported by a team of marketing, strategy and feasibility professionals, the Center features an accelerator program based on sharing ideas, knowledge exchange and co-working. Kenny has worked as a Marketing Director for McGill University's Executive Institute, as a project manager and consultant, and served as a mentor for the Museum of Science & Industry, Art & Science Innovation Incubator. Kenny also teaches at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in Arts Administration and Policy. 

Ian Sargent Phillips
Creator/Owner/Designer - i love lamP Lighting

The Creator, Owner and Designer of "i love lamP Lighting" (formerly A gnome called iP Creations) is an Actor/Filmmaker/Designer based in Chicago. He has a large collection of work ranging from personal home lighting, to custom serving trays, to lighting designed for bars and restaurants.  Ian has many years of experience in Creative Design and Event Catering. He comes from a father who has trained him in the art of construction and remodeling and a mother whose background is deeply rooted in artistic endeavors. Together these two created a man, nay, a gnome who is not only obsessed with the beauty of art and nature but also equipped with the knowledge of how to use these talents to create something new out of something old.

Ryan Shand
General Manager - Jammber

Ryan Shand has been entrenched in the entrepreneur world from a young age. Starting her first company at the age of 18, TESS (Teen Everyday Skincare System) expanded into a worldwide skincare line to support young teens to use healthy products. Ryan quickly became involved in any part-time work she could. Ranging from assistant to Editor and Chief of Teen Magazine, Personal Assistant to Steve Erle and Siren Studios working on set with Lauren Conrad for Kohls, and Fredericks of Hollywood, Coordinator for MAPS/Mobile Arts Product Services, Assistant to Event Director at CurtCo media, Account Coordinator for dOMAIN working directly with Hollywood celebrities such as the Lakers, to working under the VP of Marketing and Director of PR at UGG Australia. 

Joining in 2015, Ryan sits as General Manager for Jammber, a Music Tech platform focused on drastically simplifying the paperwork and payment process for the $250 billion dollar Entertainment Industry. Ryan is also an Associate Board Member for The Foundation's of Music, creating a society where children of all means have access to music education.

Brenden Dougherty
Principal - Shift Creative Solutions

Brenden Dougherty is a Chicago based entrepreneur and has had his hand in founding and scaling 5 different businesses in all different industries. He is currently the CEO of OneGlobe Citizen, Principal of Shift Creative Solutions, Executive Director of Authentic Good Co., and President of Ride Last Mile LLC. Extensively studied in the world of cash flows, performance indicators, and financial modeling, he worked on the trade desk of UBS and the data analytics of two premier Chicago investment companies. He is currently serving as President of the NorthShore Associate Board and on the board of directors for Travel + Social Good. He received his Finance degree from University of Illinois at Chicago where he was a full scholarship swimming athlete.

Ariana Ulloa-Olavarrieta
Executive Coach - Ohio University

Ariana Ulloa-Olavarrieta is the Executive Coach for the Leveraging Innovation Gateways and Hubs Toward Sustainability (LIGHTS) program. Prior to her role with LIGHTS, Ulloa-Olavarrieta was the District Director of the Ohio SBDC at Columbus State Community College (Ohio SBDC) which serves the business community by providing business assistance for Franklin and the ten contiguous counties. The Ohio SBDC is an award winning center which offers clients the confidential advising services, management training and technical assistance of the Core SBDC and those of programs specializing in manufacturing and technology, international trade and Latino owned businesses. 

Ulloa-Olavarrieta has served the New Direction Career Center as a board member and treasurer, the Hispanic Chamber of Columbus as board treasurer, as well as the ACEnet board. Currently, she serves on the MidOhio Food Bank board and the Community Capital Development Corporation (CCDC) board. Ulloa-Olavarrieta was also a small business owner; launching Bébo Naturals, an organic baby food company in 2010. 

Community service has always been tremendously important to Ulloa-Olavarrieta. She has been a United Way volunteer, Junior Achievement teacher, Women’s Fund volunteer, taught English as a second language and is currently on the scholarship committee for the Fund for Appalachian Ohio. 

A graduate of Ohio University, she holds a Masters in Financial Economics as well as a BA in Economics with specializations in Latin American Studies, Spanish and German. Born in Mexico City, Ulloa-Olavarrieta immigrated to the United States when she was 5 years old. Currently, she lives in the Columbus area with her two children.

Usman Pasha
CEO - Ausomatic

Usman Pasha is the CEO of Ausomatic and has 11 years of experience in the tech sector, primarily focus on EdTech. He started his venture with one product and gradually kept expanding. Now that one product is a module in a suite of modules that all come together to become OSUM. OSUM has been implemented in numerous institutions in the UK and Pakistan with plans of going into many more countries. Mr. Usman believes that Pakistan and Entrepreneurship mix very together in that there are many problems in Pakistan and the Pakistani youth is developing the skills required to develop solutions to these problems which can be monetized.

Event Sponsors, and Partners

The Startup Weekend Chicago - Creative Enterprise Edition team is grateful for the support of local community partners without whom this event would not be possible.
Learn how to become a sponsor here.

Signature Sponsors




Organizing Team

Techstars Startup Weekend Chicago is 100% led by volunteer community leaders.
Learn how to get involved here

  • Melissa
  • Brittani
  • Brandon
  • Shreya
  • John
  • Tyler
  • Sheridan
  • Anya
  • Chandler
  • Lane
  • Caroline
  • Alex


Michael Norton

Michael vagabonds around North America exploring entrepreneurial communities and facilitating Startup Weekend events. He works as a freelance business development and crowdfunding consultant, technical project manager, and social media guru. Michael is also a photographer, audio engineer, and writer.

Event Staff

Michael Norton

Michael vagabonds around North America exploring entrepreneurial communities and facilitating Startup Weekend events. He works as a freelance business development and crowdfunding consultant, technical project manager, and social media guru. Michael is also a photographer, audio engineer, and writer.

Event Blog

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