This is the third post in our multi-part series “Global Insights on Chicago’s Tech Sphere” detailing the experiences of our Professional Fellows from Bosnia & Herzegovina, Croatia, and Slovenia as they discover more about Chicago’s thriving innovation community, and how it compares to their home countries.
Part 3: On Inspiring Chicago
By Ivana Čuljak, Croatia
With the aim to develop national and international programs and an interest in opportunities to collaborate with innovative companies and institutions from the U.S., my participation in the WorldChicago Professional Fellows Program is related directly to my professional goals. I am very motivated to learn from the U.S. experience to transfer that knowledge into programs for Croatian startup community.
I took advantage of events about innovation and entrepreneurship such as ThinkChicago. With the aim to explore Chicago’s vibrant tech ecosystem, 200 university students from across the United States got a chance to visit company headquarters, directly engage with local tech entrepreneurs, and meet leaders of some of today’s most innovative tech companies. Connecting top university talents with innovative companies demonstrates a very important part of the innovation ecosystem.
Networking is very good method to accelerate success for anyone, especially for young individuals or startups. As a method of establishing relationship with people who can help you advance your project or career, networking can result with new opportunities for development and growth. During the speech on the conference Think Chicago, keynote speaker Jimmy Odom, Senior Vice President of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Intersect Illinois and Founder of WeDeliver, said, “Mentors are like Pokemons…” Gotta catch ’em all. It is hard to find and get the right job or the right mentor at the right time, but if you are efficient in networking, it will be worth it.
I am inspired also by other interactive sessions held by Chicago Ideas Week 2016. Bringing together people from all backgrounds and industries — including science, technology, and media — to foster innovation through talks and discussion followed by the sharing the experience is a crucial part of innovation process.
The experiences and knowledge that resulted through this exchange platform became an idea for a new project named StartIN Zagreb that I would like to work on as soon I get back to Croatia.