Startup Institute Launches in Chicago to Train Startup Employees

With the proliferation of emerging companies in Chicago, comes an array of programs teaching founders how to start a business. But not everyone wants to launch a startup. Some prefer to simply work for one. Employment recruiters say that, as startups begin to mature, they look to hire more than engineers and coders. But finding people with the necessary business skills, and who also possess the unique personality traits that fit well within a startup culture, is a challenge. Startup Institute, launching in Chicago this month, says it’s solving that problem.

Founded in Boston, last year, Startup Institute soon expanded to New York City and, this month, kicks off a new program in Chicago.

“Chicago is our third city,” says Brent Williams, program manager for Startup Institute Chicago. “We were looking for a city that was on the cusp of entrepreneurial growth.”

The program hopes to be a community resource by training startup employees and helping to place graduates in jobs with startups within the Startup Institute’s network of partner companies.

For the cost of $5,400 dollars, students participate in an eight-week program with a curriculum divided into four tracks — sales and business development, technical marketing, front-end web development, and back end web development. Included are technical coursework along with a core curriculum consisting of career-focused workshops, emotional intelligence (EQ) discussions, and cross-functional projects at local startups.

Applicants are screened with an in-person interview and the completion of an assignment. Between 20-30 percent of applicants are accepted into the program.

“We’re looking for self-starters and people who have that internal initiative to take on new challenges and projects,” says Williams.”We really look for people that have the mindset [to be] able to deal with the ambiguity of a startup.”

Chicago instructors include, among others, Andrew Follett, founder and CEO of Demo Duck, Maria Katris, CEO of Built In, Michael Koenig, business development and customer acquisition specialist at Automattic, and Adam London, associate at Lightbank.

Registration closes on October 6th. The classes begin on October 18th and run through December 21st. As of today, 40 students are registered from Chicago and surrounding Midwestern cities. About a third are women. ❒

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