Building Your Startup Network

Feb 8, 2017

Our list of the top Chicago-based networking groups

Cultivating meaningful connections with other entrepreneurs through networking is invaluable for any startup founder. But it’s the inspiration and motivation that comes from those conversations that is so infectious. In a city like Chicago, the impact from the vast selection of networking groups can be vast. As someone who is out there hustling with the best of them, here are some of our favorite networking groups in Chicago.

Networking Groups in Chicago


1. Technori: The World’s Startup Showcase

Technori hosts dozens of showcase events throughout the year, and these events are always on point, with attendees who are eager to connect. Seriously, if an event is on a Tuesday night, by Wednesday morning I’ve already heard from everyone I met. Another cool fact is Technori CEO Scott Kitun hosts a podcast and radio show with WGN, featuring startup founders all over the city. Tune into the podcast and check out their next gathering—both are making a tremendous impact in Chicago.


2. Ms. Tech

If changing the landscape for women in tech is something you’re passionate about, then this is the place for you. Their monthly Masterminds offer resources for women in tech in an intimate setting—and they cover different topics every month to help women in tech continue to change the conversation. The first mastermind is free, so definitely check it out. They also have an amazing Facebook group that is a tremendous resource for sharing information. Ms. Tech also just announced the Fear Paradox, a three-day summit for women.


3. Women Tech Founders

If you’ve got a story to tell, WTF wants to hear it. Their whole mantra is to use people’s unique stories to connect them to other like-minded people in the tech industry. And, it’s working. Take a look at WTF’s list of upcoming networking events, and definitely consider attending the upcoming Midwest Women in Tech Conference in March. (Psssst: Katie Lord Inc. is a sponsor.)


4. Creative Women’s Co

Brunch, cocktails, and an intimate environment for creative women to tell their stories, learn from each other, and grow both personally and professionally. Sign me up. As a creative, I really admire the inspirational vibe that makes CWC such a unique network for women. They have a ton of events coming up, and they’re always taking applicants from women who want to speak at one of their brunches.


5. Small Business Advocacy Council

This is the “pro status” of Chicago networking groups. The ultimate proponent of small businesses doing their thing, the SBAC represents over 1000 businesses throughout the Chicagoland area. They have a few membership tiers to choose from, so if you’re a small business looking expand your network, or a startup trying to reach beyond the startup world, check out an SBAC event near you.


6. Saleshacker Midwest Conference

While this event is sold out, it’s definitely one to keep on your radar for next year. This one-time event is designed specifically for top-producing sales professionals, sales leaders & execs from the best companies around. This is a great event that we couldn’t help getting behind as a sponsor. If you were lucky enough to secure a ticket, make sure you stop by and see us.

Chicago has developed an awesome community for tech innovators, and especially women in tech. Our team makes it a point to get out there and network as often as we can. There’s a group out there for everyone, and being able to learn from industry leaders is all part of the fun of startup life.


Meet Katie

Katie Lord


Katie Lord Inc.
420 W Huron St.
Chicago, IL 60654
(773) 466-4077