CHICAGO—Governor Bruce Rauner visited 1871 today to announce the creation of the new Innovate Illinois Advisory Council, which he has formed to foster opportunity and increase Illinois’ global competitiveness. Following the announcement, Governor Rauner toured 1871’s 75,000-square-foot facility, held a roundtable discussion with startups from 1871 and MATTER, and visited the recently-opened MATTER space, which is immediately adjacent to 1871 in The Merchandise Mart.

“Illinois is home to a wealth of resources, including world-class educational institutions, leading national labs, 33 Fortune 500 companies, dozens of innovation and entrepreneurship hubs, a vibrant culture, and an extensive transportation network,” Governor Rauner said. “Yet our state continues to fall behind. In the last ten years, the Boston Consulting Group estimates our lagging growth has cost Illinois more than 175 thousand jobs. This council will help us create and implement a shared vision for a 21st century economy that will turn Illinois into a global innovation destination.”

The council will be co-chaired by Laura Frerichs, director of the University of Illinois’ Research Park, and Mark Glennon, managing director of Ninth Street Advisors. 1871 will participate.

Governor Rauner has charged the council with developing an agenda to grow the state’s innovation economy, including developing high-growth industry clusters, attracting resources, developing and retaining top talent, and fostering collaboration among all the parties in the state’s technology and innovation community. The council will meet regularly to develop and facilitate the execution of key growth initiatives. It will work closely with Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity and will have a core mission of bringing new opportunities to the forefront on behalf of the community.

“At the University of Illinois we see innovation breakthroughs happen when our industry partners, entrepreneurs, faculty and students work together,” Laura Frerichs said. “We are strengthened when we bring together the business insights and scale from large corporations, ingenuity of entrepreneurs, and discovery from research institutions, and students as the workforce pipeline.”

“Illinois’ economy needs a turnaround, but in challenges there are opportunities. By cultivating innovative ideas, we will be able to create a 21st century economy for Illinois,” Mark Glennon said. “It’s especially fitting to be announcing this at 1871 because, if anything has been key to its success and the success of the startup community in Illinois, it has been a spirit of cooperation. We look forward to building on the splendid success the community has had to date.”

“We are excited that Governor Rauner is focused on technology and innovation as a key driver of our state’s future success,” said Howard A. Tullman, 1871 CEO. “The companies at 1871 are creating new jobs and driving economic growth, all while developing new technologies that affect every type of business. We look forward to working with the council to ensure that throughout Illinois, new technology businesses are being developed and given a chance to grow.”

The first meeting of the newly formed innovation council will take place this spring at 1871.

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