Here are our picks for the best networking events, fireside chats and pitch sessions in Chicago for the month of September.  If you have a submission, feel free to email

Week 1: September 5 – September 8

Wednesday, September 6

1 Million Cups Chicago: A free, nationwide program hoping to “educate, engage and accelerate” early-stage startups, the Chicago chapter meets at 1871. September’s meetup will feature two founders (CitySpoon and Beyond Tag) as well as provide an opportunity for networking with Dark Matter coffee. Free to attend.

2017 Nominee Reception: For 15+ years, the Chicago Innovation Awards has been celebrating the city’s innovators — companies, nonprofits, government agencies. Join the group as they announce the 2017 nominees and give a preview of what to expect this year, along with board members and judges. $25-40 to attend, held at Park West.

Movie Night and Fundraiser: The Private Life of Henrietta Lacks: Join the Anita Borg Institute’s Chicago chapter at mHUB to watch a documentary on one of the most influential scientists of color, Henrietta Lacks. The pioneering biomedical researcher has left a lasting legacy in cancer research. A $25 ticket fee includes food, drink, a $5 donation to the Henrietta Lacks Foundation and a discussion with panelists from the University of Chicago, Northwestern Medicine and Rush University.

Fermilab and the new frontiers of Physics: Celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2017, top Fermilab scientists will present on their breakthrough research in an accessible format meant for the general public at this C2ST event organized at the Chicago Public Library’s Harold Washington Center. Free to attend.

Blockchain and Student Data: Blockchain is finding new, exciting applications in the government and civic space. In university settings, permissions are required by the custodians of student data records (parents, students, etc.). Come hear from Impact Lab’s Matt Gee at the Chicago City Data Users Group’s meetup at Microsoft Chicago as he discusses a new approach to support research supporting Chicago youth from cradle to career. Free to attend.

Thursday, September 7

How To Raise Venture Capital: Hyde Park Angels’ Entrepreneurial Education Series returns to 1871 to hear from entrepreneurs and investors on the ins and outs of venture capital: where to find investors, fundraising, closing a fund, post-deal closure, even understand what terms like “convertible debt” and “equity” mean. Panelists come from startups like Catalytic, Regroup Therapy to investors like Wintrust Ventures and Jump Capital. Free to attend.

Week 2: September 11 – September 16

Tuesday, September 12

Deep Dive into SEO with Andy Crestodina: Co-founder of web development agency Orbit Media Studios, Crestodina is a recognized expert in content marketing and SEO best practices. Attend this full-day seminar to understand how to avoid the most common mistakes marketers and website owners make. $200 for the full day seminar..

Wednesday, September 13

The Future of ICOs for Startup Fundraising: Panel Session+Networking: This panel held at 1871 will delve into ICOs or Initial Coin Offerings. It is intended for startups and entrepreneurs interested in this space to better understand the future viability of these offerings as a potential fundraising model. Free to attend.

Chicago Venture Summit 2017: Organized by World Business Chicago’s tech council ChicagoNEXT, this is the Midwest’s premier gathering of investors with a unique opportunity for startups ready for funding to pitch and present their companies. Returning for an encore after a successful edition in April 2016, this year’s conference, held at Google’s offices in the West Loop, will feature several big names from Andreesen Horowitz, Cleveland Capital, Outcome Health, Uptake and more. Request an invite and learn more here.

AI Startups in Marketing and Advertising: Can algorithms replace humans? Creative agencies are already changing UX and marketing in new and exciting ways, and startups in this space are uniquely positioned to take advantage of rapidly changing applications of technology. Hear from AI entrepreneurs and thought leaders at this free event at 1871, previewing Chicago AI Days 2018.

New Rules in the Data Driven World: Join the Chicago Connectory and the Connected Intelligence Foundation for International Data Corporation’s Tech Outlook 2017 where data analysts will share new rules and guidelines for “managing and thriving” in a data-driven world. $70, held at the Connectory.

DisruptHR Chicago: 10 recognized speakers and “disruptive” ideas to share will be given 5 minutes and 20 slides (advancing automatically every 15 seconds). Tickets $28-38 (include food, drink, program and networking), held at 1871.

Thursday, September 14

ITA CityLights Awards: Billed as the largest gathering of tech executives in Illinois, the CityLights Awards celebrate the best and brightest innovators, venture capital groups, nonprofits working everyday to make Chicago a global hub for tech. Event held at Morgan Manufacturing, ticket and sponsorship information here.

Learn a Language: The Power of Python: This tutorial provides an intermediate understanding of the Python language. It’ll cover data-centric approaches to build apps quickly, efficiently and with effective UX. Taught by Illinois Tech Professor James Papademas, this workshop is designed for people with two or more years of Python experience. $95, held at Arity’s offices in the Merchandise Mart.

Argonne Lab Accelerator Pitch Event: A unique startup incubator program housed at Argonne National Lab is looking for startups to apply for its second cohort. Separate from this, the lab will host a pitch competition meant for researchers looking for feedback on commercialization and business aspects of their early-stage technologies, regardless of whether they know if they want to pursue a startup or not. Free to attend, held at the Polsky Center.

Friday, September 15

FWD Collective Summit: A community dedicated to professional inclusion, FWD Collective Summit. is a one-day summit held in different major tech hubs around the world, aiming to continue discussions on how to include more women, P.O.C., and under-represented communities in tech. Conversations will facilitate discussions about business development, venture capital, and building teams. Held at mHub, ticket information here.

Saturday, September 16

Small-Batch Design Workshop & Open House: Join Kickstarter for a one-day workshop on taking a product design idea from concept to reality. The workshop, led by Chicago designer and educator (not to mention, prolific Kickstarter entrepreneur) Craighton Berman, will have a special focus on local manufacturing and on validating an idea with the help of the Kickstarter community. Tickets are $10 for students, $25 for general community. Held at the Center for Lost Arts.

Post-workshop, doors will open to the general public for a free open house, with a chance to meet other successful Kickstarter creators and Chicago-area vendors/suppliers. They’ll have interactive music from Shortwave to play with, and free beer and snacks. This event is free and open to the public. RSVP for the open house here.

Week 3: September 18 – September 22

Monday, September 18

The Continuing Case for an Open Internet with Tom Wheeler: The ex-Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Tom Wheeler stops by 1871 for a free event to discuss a simple question, per the event description: What has happened in the past two years to justify a 180-degree reversal of Open Internet policy? He will lay out the continuing case for an Open Internet, based on law and facts, placing it in the context of continued innovation and technology developments at hubs like 1871. Don’t miss this unique event.

Tuesday, September 19

The Here’s How Startup Marketing Conference by Propllr PR: Join Chicago PR firm Propllr for their fourth Here’s How Startup Marketing Conference. At Here’s How, Chicago’s founders and startup marketers (from startups like Reverb, Tock, Kin, G2 Crowd, etc. and venture groups Hyde Park Angels and Chicago Ventures) will share the specific steps they took to achieve their biggest marketing wins. Tickets are $29, held at TechNexus.

Tech Inclusion Chicago Forum: This event is part of a nationwide series to get communities discussing how to be more inclusive. Held at 1871 from 12-6:30pm, a $99 ticket will include discussion from leaders in diversity & inclusion, a collaborative session on building a local tech ecosystem and a happy hour for networking.

Startup Grind presents: Ujjwal Gupta, BenchPrep: Startup Grind is a global startup community designed to “educate, inspire, and connect entrepreneurs” with happy hours, networking and fireside chats with successful entrepreneurs. This month it will feature Ujjwal Gupta, co-founder and COO of Chicago-based BenchPrep.Tickets start at $10, held at WeWork State Street.

Thursday, September 21

Educelerate 2017: After a one-year hiatus, this conference related to all things edtech will return to Chicago. Location, agenda and speaker details TBA at the time of publication, early bird tickets are $100.

Share the Vision: UIUC’s Premier Innovation and Startup Showcase: Make the trip down to Champaign to see TED-style talks and presentations from some of the brightest researchers and entrepreneurs working out of campus and partner institutions. This year’s event will focus on technologies at the intersection of engineering and medicine. Tickets are $100 for general public and $25 for Illinois students, faculty, staff, and alumni.

Tech in Motion’s Timmy Awards 2017: This awards ceremony recognizes the best places for tech professionals to work in Chicago. It aims to recognize those who employ those technologists, the companies and managers supporting and driving the innovation. Hosted at 1871, it is looking for the general public to vote in several categories. Do that and RSVP for the final showcase here.

Saturday, September 23

TADHack Global 2017: For the 4th year running, TADHack Global 2017 will be the largest telecom focused hackathon in the world. This Fall, the Chicago location is the Illinois Institute of Technology’s Main Campus, which will host one of 30+ locations running in parallel around the world. Per the event organizer, “you’ll learn about adding programmable telecoms to your apps, services or business; be able to share your experiences with others; do some “coding”; and potentially create a winning hack that makes a difference in your community.” Free to register, individually or as a team.

Week 4: September 25 – September 29

Tuesday, September 26

Chicago Microbiome Conference: This gathering of academic researchers and industry partners will discuss ways to propel microbiome research discoveries into commercial applications. Held at the University of Chicago, the two-day program will feature informative sessions, rich discussion, and networking opportunities. More information here.

Wednesday, September 27

Tales from the Trenches: Rushika Fernandopulle, Co-founder of Iora Health: Outcome Health CEO Rishi Shah will interview Rushika Fernandopulle about his journey as a doctor, co-founder, and CEO for Iora Health. Based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Iora Health is a healthcare services firm whose mission is to build a radically new model of primary care to improve quality and service and reduce overall expenditures. Free to attend and held at MATTER.

Wednesday, September 27

ISEIF Surge Summit: Organizing for our Energy Future: The Illinois Science and Energy Innovation Fund (ISEIF) is a consumer education and advocacy group hoping to spread more awareness about clean energy technologies. Their annual Surge Summit is an opportunity to connect with like-minded community groups working around the city and state, and discuss how consumers change behavior and the organizing methodology you can use to make it happen. Free, held at the Bridgeport Art Center.

Thursday, September 28

Chicago Tech Rocks: Chicago tech’s benefit concert returns for an encore performance at the Metro Chicago, with proceeds benefitting tech talent development and retention organizations in Chicago. Last year the concert raised $130,000 and raffled off a Tesla, this year they’re giving away tickets to a dream concert. Tickets to the concert itself are $85 for general admission and $125 for a VIP ticket, all of which are available on CTR’s Eventbrite page here.

CHIentist Presents: 3rd Annual Connections Matter: This signature event will gather stakeholders within the life sciences from all across the greater Chicago area. It is a unique networking opportunity and will bring together researchers, entrepreneurs and industry professionals in order to create connections between communities. Held at mHub.

Women in Bio Startup Challenge 3.0: At the WIB Start-UP Challenge, finalists from women-led Illinois biotech companies will give a short pitch about their company’s technology and products. Local experts from the investment and start-up communities will provide feedback and select the winning pitch, with the winner receiving a cash award. The event will also feature a structured networking session with local entrepreneurs. Tickets are $15-45, held at MATTER.