IMSA Named One of the Top 100 Finalists for the 16th Annual Chicago Innovation Awards

Out of 530 nominees, the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy (IMSA) of Aurora has been selected as one of the Top 100 Finalists still in the running for the 16th annual Chicago Innovation Awards. The awards celebrate the most innovative new products and services in the Chicago region across all organization sizes, sectors and industries. 1500 business and civic leaders will come together to honor the winners when they are announced on October 30th at Chicago’s Harris Theater.

The innovation nominated by IMSA is IN2 Steve and Jamie Center for Innovation and Inquiry. IN2 is Illinois’ first secondary school innovation center. The IMSA startup raised $2M in private funds to renovate 6,400 square feet, opening formally in 2017. Bridging talented Illinois students and staff to Chicago-area startups and mentors, IN2 brings together external students, teachers, corporations and problems. IN2 focuses on entrepreneurship and makerspace education, STEM programs and innovation with the 17 UN Sustainability Goals as the foundation to catalyze IMSA’s mission of “advancing the human condition.”

“This year’s nominees demonstrate the economic impact that innovation is having within organizations and on the Chicago region as a whole,” said Tom Kuczmarski, co-founder with Chicago journalist Dan Miller of the awards. “This year’s nominees generated $3.39 billion in new revenues through their new products and services alone, and created over 24,000 new jobs.”

As one of the Top 100 Finalists, IMSA will receive a $2,500 scholarship to attend The Practical Innovator, a day-long executive education course on September 27th led by top faculty who teach innovation at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management.

Each of the Top 100 Finalists is also in the running for the annual “People’s Choice Award,” selected through online balloting at

Out of the Top 100 Finalists, the judges will select 10 winners of the Chicago Innovation Awards, as well as 10 winners of the Up-and-Comer Awards representing innovation in the start-up community, the Social Innovator Award, the Collaboration Award, and 3 Neighborhood Award winners, which will showcase innovation occurring in Chicago’s diverse neighborhoods. The winners will be invited to ring the NASDAQ Bell in New York City, invited to separate meetings with Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Governor Bruce Rauner and Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle, and receive widespread media recognition.

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