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A Note to the 2017 Participants – PT 1

First, I would like to thank you all for chatting with me about your ideas to stitch technology into the fabric of your business. You don’t often see new businesses being developed in distressed areas. It’s not that businesses fail at a greater rate in these areas. The fact is that not enough

businesses even get the chance to fail in these areas. Unfortunately, areas like Chicago’s south & west sides have sat vacant for decades because entrepreneurs are stopped at the gate between their concepts and OPR (other people’s resources). That is why I personally thank you for participating in this movement.

While the prospect of transforming these ideas into reality is exciting, it has been emotionally & spiritually stimulating to know we are all doing this with a sense of purpose. Truly, the notion of entrepreneurs being for or from our communities is nothing new. It is our decision to deliberately build businesses together in these communities that places a new face on the possibilities for these neighborhoods. And when each of your businesses, your apps and platforms are sustainable and profitable, so too will be these communities.

On Friday November 3rd we’ll host our hackathon weekend – the culmination of months of workshops, townhalls and one-to-one meetings. Sunday afternoon a panel of judges will select 5 of you to join Colony 5 as part of the 2018 NewCo Cohort. We’ve talked in detail about your social media, content distribution, and traditional businesses. I’ve asked if you will set up your business in retail corridors we’ve identified on Chicago’s south and west sides. I’ve asked if you are willing to set aside a portion of your company to be offered raise your startup and go to market funding.

From Friday evening to Sunday afternoon we’ll come together with others that have answered yes to develop your prototype (screens, functions, topology) and pitch presentation for Sunday judging. If you haven’t already, please submit your concept online. The public will be able to vote online for a People’s Choice winner – the 6th newCo for the cohort.

Make your Concept a Reality – the Smart Community I realize only you that have been most serious about developing your business will attend this event. We will support you in every way possible during the event. I am also asking techies at-large to take a look at the entries and consider lending support during the event or even participating in a team online at:

We are focused on businesses that support the development of Smart Communities - technology to connect our businesses to broader base of revenues while mitigating operational risks to better equip these startups to thrive in particularly distressed environments. This an opportunity to recreate our communities in significantly unique ways.

Where cities like Chicago have smart infrastructures, your business is designed to connect and benefit. Where technologies like IoT and drone proliferate, your business leverages nodes and networks to a great degree. Your participation in this model will be the example of our successes and at the very least, the much-needed opportunity to fail – a prime example of trying.