Announcing Global EIR launches in Chicago

21 March 2017 — Mayor Rahm Emanuel of Chicago announced last week that Chicago’s values compelled their effort to launch a Global Entrepreneur In Residence (Global EIR) program for international entrepreneurs to find a welcoming home and to drive job creation for Chicagoans.

“In today’s global economy we need to welcome talent and support the entrepreneurial spirit that has made us the greatest economic power in the world,” said Mayor Emanuel.

“We’re proud to welcome the city of Chicago as a leader of the Global EIR movement and a partner with the Global EIR Coalition. Today, leadership on economic development is in the hands of cities and states around the United States to create a welcoming environment for the next generation of great employers,” said Craig Montuori, executive director of the Global EIR Coalition.

At a stroke, five new universities committed to launching Global EIR programs within the city framework. The pre-application process will open in early April with the first visas expected to be approved by the fall, in line with the new academic school year. We welcome Northwestern, Loyala, DePaul, Illinois Institute of Technology, and Columbia College to the Global EIR Coalition and are excited to work with them to set up their operational programs over the next few months.

A recent study by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs found that Illinois misses out on $616 million annually in wage income — money that would otherwise be spent in the region—and another $29M in state taxes by not retaining foreign-born students after graduation.

Through Global EIR, the city of Chicago will begin to change the status quo, where international students have traditionally faced a choice between chasing a green card for a decade or more or returning home to start a company — some finding success, like Kunal Bahl of Wharton who built Snapdeal into a $6.5 billion juggernaut that employs thousands… in India.

The question is whether these job-creating entrepreneurs will grow their companies in the United States or another country. More than a dozen countries have implemented startup visas over the past decade to chase these talented individuals—including American entrepreneurs — and with continued federal inaction on this issue, we’re pleased to partner with states and cities, both “red” and “blue,” to give them the tools to both attract and retain great entrepreneurs and promote high quality, innovation-based economic development.

Global EIR programs in Chicago are projected to welcome 10–20 new entrepreneurs over the course of the next year and create over 150 jobs over the next three years.

Since launching a similar program in 2014 through the vision of Flybridge Capital Partners’ Jeff Bussgang as the flagship of the Global EIR Coailtion, the Massachusetts GEIR program has sponsored 23 established entrepreneurs in partnership with UMass Boston and UMass Lowell. The entrepreneurs’ companies have created 58 new jobs (while employing over 400) and generated $185 million in private investment over the past two years.

Additionally, the University of Colorado Boulder, Babson College, the University of Missouri at St. Louis, University of Alaska, Anchorage, Alaska Pacific University, and San Jose State University are part of the Global EIR Coalition and operate similar programs.

The Kauffman Foundation projects that a fully scaled startup visa program like Global EIR will lead to the creation of 500,000 to 1,300,000 jobs over a decade and serve as the foundation for $70–240 Billion in economic value creation by up to 10,000 entrepreneurs per year making use of the Global EIR pathway.

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