/Impact Engine

About Impact Engine

Impact Engine is a 16-week accelerator program that supports for-profit businesses addressing today’s societal or environmental challenges. We empower entrepreneurs, mentors, and investors to make a collective impact on society by applying smart business principles to the world’s greatest problems.
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Impact Entrepreneurship Video Series: J.B. Pritzker on Being a Leader in the Community

Chicago’s own J.B. Pritzker, managing partner of the private investment firm Pritzker Group, stopped by Impact Engine to share his personal experiences with being a leader in the community. J.B. has been a supporter of Chicago’s startup community since 1996 when he founded Pritzker Group Venture Capital (formerly New World Ventures), and he took an integral role in establishing the city’s technology hub, 1871, which opened in 2012. So why has he taken on this role? A strong believer in the “rising tide” theory, J.B. says, “you succeed better in life as well as in business if you’re helping the community succeed.” View highlights from J.B.’s visit below or watch the full-length video here.

This video is one of 10 videos in Impact Engine’s Impact Entrepreneurship Video series, in partnership with CDW.

By |March 13, 2014|
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Chuck Templeton’s Challenge to the Community at Impact Engine’s Demo Day

This post is adapted from Chuck Templeton’s speech at Impact Engine’s Demo Day on January 15, 2014 at Untitled Chicago. Demo Day is a showcase of our startups to community and business leaders throughout Chicago and beyond.
Why we are here.
We are here today because we know we can help build a better world. Too many people go to bed hungry, our food is too carbon intensive, our education system is not meeting the needs of our kids, there is too much wasteful consumption, our communities are not designed for the future in front of us, too many people eat alone, too much human capital is rotting away in our jails and prisons, our energy is too dirty, our existing resources of clean water are diminishing, there is still too much poverty, and our stable climate of the past 10,000 years is changing. We are here because our ecology is the foundation of our economy. We are here because people deserve to live with dignity.

We are here because there are entrepreneurs here and they see challenges like the ones I listed above as opportunities. They see weaknesses in the status quo and they see ways to use new business models, or new technologies, or new social norms as a force for positive change. Entrepreneurs see we can do better than we have so far. They see ways to disrupt the current mindset of mission OR money with mission AND money.

We are here because there are investors here who see the same opportunities. They see a way to make money AND solve some of the biggest challenges of our time. They are here […]

By |February 25, 2014|
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Impact Entrepreneurship Video Series: How to Improve Traffic From Search Engines

So your business has a website, now what? It’s not enough to be online these days. You have to be seen online. One way to do that is through search engine optimization. In this installment of our Impact Entrepreneurship Video Series, Brent Payne, CEO of Loud Interactive goes through the basics of SEO to help you get more eyeballs on your business. View highlights from the workshop below or watch the full-length video here.

This video is one of 10 videos in Impact Engine’s Impact Entrepreneurship Video series, in partnership with CDW.

By |February 14, 2014|
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Spotlight Video: Zero Percent’s Ending Food Waste and Hunger One Donation at a Time

More than $8 billion worth of surplus food gets thrown out every year by food service businesses. It’s Zero Percent’s goal to get as much of that food onto the plates of the 50 million Americans suffering from hunger. Currently, many food establishments do not donate their surplus food to local charities because they either aren’t aware of nearby charities that accept food or are fearful of the strict sanitation protocols. Through its technology platform, Zero Percent has created a way to make donating food simple, convenient, and safe. Here’s CEO Rajesh Karmani talking about how the process works >>

By |February 7, 2014|
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Spotlight Video: How ShelfFlip Makes it Easy to Save the Environment by Selling Your Used Goods

On average, people have $600 worth of unused items in their home—filling junk drawers and taking up space on dusty bookshelves. What’s more, 90 percent of all products with a resale value are either thrown away or forgotten. This means both consumers and the environment end up losing in the end. ShelfFlip solves these problems by making is easier to sell used items online, without the hassle of websites like Craigslist or eBay. The website’s patent-pending technology creates a list of all the items a user has purchased online in the past, automatically finds how much each item is worth, and makes it easy to sell these products with just one click. Here’s co-founder Christian Kletzl discussing the value of ShelfFlip >>

By |February 6, 2014|
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Spotlight Video: Community Ideas Come to Life with Civic ArtWorks

Civic ArtWorks believes that every person has the right to shape their surroundings. Have you ever walked through your neighborhood and thought, “I wish there were more public benches here” or “we should build a grocery store there”? Civic ArtWorks helps citizens become more engaged with community planning by giving them the tools to crowdsource, share, and visualize new ideas for their neighborhood, and get those ideas in front of local leaders and officials. Here’s CEO Zach Borders discussing how the process works >>

By |January 24, 2014|
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JOIN: Community Demo Day on January 22nd

Join us for an inspiring evening at 1871 when entrepreneurs from our second cohort, Impact 2, showcase their for-profit solutions for addressing today’s societal and environmental challenges.

The event will include eight presentations featuring innovative business ideas for making the world a better place, from reducing recidivism in jails to alleviating hunger, followed by cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, and networking.


6 to 6:30 p.m. – Check-In
6:30 to 8 p.m. – Presentation
8 to 9 p.m. – Cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, and networking

By |January 16, 2014|
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Impact Entrepreneurship Video Series: Finding Your Golden Purpose

When it comes to branding, think simple, says David Gardner, co-founder of ColorJar. In today’s marketplace, you only get one shot to resonate with potential customers. In this seminar, David explains how to differentiate your company from the competition while also staying true to the brand. View highlights from the workshop below or watch the full-length video here.

This video is one of 10 videos in Impact Engine’s Impact Entrepreneurship Video series, in partnership with CDW.

By |January 9, 2014|

Impact Entrepreneurship Video Series: Building a Predictable Sales Machine

No business can succeed without customers. As such, we brought in Nick Kellermeyer, former VP of Sales for GrubHub, to help our teams think about the structure of their sales teams and their sales process. Nick discusses the importance of communicating the problem your business solves to potential customers. “Sales is all about solving a problem for a customer,” says Nick. Be strategic by targeting a particular customer and staying focused on that customer. View highlights from the workshop below or watch the full-length video here.

This video is one of 10 videos in Impact Engine’s Impact Entrepreneurship Video series, in partnership with CDW.

By |January 7, 2014|

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