Chicago Hub


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Founded in 2014, UpStart Chicago is home to many of Chicago’s boldest Jewish innovators – people taking big risks to redesign the experience and expression of our city’s Jewish life. Whether you’re starting afresh or want to bring new ideas to your organization, UpStart Chicago is the place to learn, experiment, network, and get the Jewish entrepreneurial tools you need to succeed.



UPSTART_Fellowship_Images_8.1.17-07Applications are now open for the Innovation Fellowship, a new program to support intrapreneurs in the Chicago area looking to bring innovation and design thinking tools to their organizations. Through group labs and coaching sessions focused on addressing real world opportunities and challenges, Fellows will learn to apply innovation skillsets. At the culmination of the fellowship, participants will build a prototype of a new program or project, applying their knowledge learned throughout the program. Fellows will showcase their new idea at an event with local lay leaders, professionals, and stakeholders. Find out more here.


IMG_6734CHIdush is a collaboration between the Jewish United Fund’s Community Foundation for Jewish Education and UpStart, made possible through the generous support of the Crown Family, The Jack and Goldie Wolfe Miller Fund, and an anonymous donor. Nine synagogue schools are participating in a series of workshops and retreats, individualized coaching, networking and a customized mini-grant program. Leadership teams at each synagogue are working to develop new mindsets and skills that will empower them to create compelling educational experiences. Find out more here.

ACCELERATOR for Entrepreneurs

ListeningFBBig Jewish ideas. Entrepreneurial tools to help them succeed. The Chicago Accelerator partners with innovative organizations to help transform vision and passion into successful, scalable Jewish social ventures.
Learn more about the program. Meet the Innovators.



DESIGN SERVICES for Established Organizations


Long-standing institutions like to play, too. UpStart works with organizational teams to develop the tools and mindsets needed to generate and test big ideas, build a collaborative culture, and navigate the human dynamics of facilitating change – all guided by the wisdom of our tradition. Current Chicago partners: Chicago’s JCC Network, Jewish United Fund Chicago. Interested in partnering? Write us.



Come one, come all! Chicago’s UpStart innovation workshops are an opportunity for Chicagoans to try on new ideas, connect to local innovators and Jewish professionals, and leave with concrete ways to experiment at your organization. 

Have a topic you’d like to explore or teach? Let us know.


222 W. Merchandise Mart Plaza, #1212 | Chicago, IL 60654
T: 312.957.5566

Lisette Zaid, Design Strategist, Chicago