1871 Chicago's Momentum Awards 2020
Submission Deadline07/26/2020

The 2020 Annual Momentum Awards, hosted by 1871, is Chicago's most anticipated digital technology event of the year. 

Celebrating Chicago's extraordinary entrepreneurial and growth scaling community, this unforgettable event is centered around the presentation of seven awards to deserving leaders and companies that have made a significant impact on Chicago's tech ecosystem.

This year’s Momentum theme, FUSION, represents the boundless energy created by our founders, growth scale companies, and innovative enterprises and is embodied by the combination of 1871 and the Illinois Technology Association (ITA). We are excited to bring you an event sculpted from the combination of legacy CityLIGHTS and Momentum Awards, featuring the coming together of the tech community for a night of celebration, networking and recognizing the companies in the community that are serving as inspiration as they grow and excel. We will also celebrate the growth and ever-changing nature of Chicago's tech community throughout the COVID-19 pandemic to pivot business operations, offerings and opportunities for staff.

We look forward to learning more about your nominee and showcasing their achievements. Want to learn more? We hosted an introductory webinar on the categories and process, as well as the updates to the event on July 15th. You can view the recording here here

Awards Categories: 

  • Industry Disrupter Award (legacy CityLIGHTS award)
    • ​Awarded to a company that has developed or introduced an ingenious, non-traditional, and innovative product or service that has significiantly disrupted the industry.
  • Outstanding Tech CEO Award (fusing legacy CityLIGHTS CEO of the Year & Outstanding Company Culture awards)
    • ​Presented to a CEO who has successfully scaled and nurtured their company through outstanding leadership, ability to attract and retain talent, dedication to diversity and inclusion, and implementation of strategic growth opportunities.
  • CityLIGHTS Award - for companies with $25MM+ in revenue (legacy CityLIGHTS Lighthouse Award; renamed)
    • ​Presented to the growth-stage company, (more than $25 million in revenue) that, through innovation in products, services, or business approach, has grown to become a serious competitor in the marketplace and serve as a beacon in the Chicago tech community.
  • Momentum Award - for companies with $3-$25MM in revenue (legacy Momentum Award; very similar to legacy CityLIGHTS Rising Star Award)
    • ​Presented to a growing company, ($3 to $25 million in revenue) that has the strongest potential to emerge as the leader in its market, has bootstrapped and/or received external funding and has made a substantial impact on Chicago's tech and startup community.
  • Rising Star Award - for companies with $1MM+ in revenue (legacy Momentum Award; focused on early stage companies)
    • ​This award recognizes a company that is early in its progression but has a proven track record of success, has achieved significant traction in their market, makes an impact on the community and is well-positioned to grow into a leader in its market.

Tip! Read all about the specific criteria for each award here, prior to preparing your submission. 

The nomination form will ask you to provide:

  • Your personal contact information (as the nominator)
  • Contact information for the nominee
  • A company profile or personal biography of the nominee
  • The number of employees at the nominee company
  • A nomination paragraph referencing the specific reasons why/how they meet the required award criteria
  • A general synopsis of why the nominee should be an award winner

Nominations will be accepted from Wednesday, July 8, 9am CST through Wednesday, July 22, 5pm CST. 

For the Industry Disrupter, Outstanding Tech CEO and CityLIGHTS Awards: 

A panel of judges will review the nominations and finalists will be announced on August 17, along with the kickoff of public voting. The category winner for each award will be announced at the 13th Annual Momentum Awards, held virtually on Thursday, October 1st.

For the Rising Star and Momentum Awards: 

The 1871/CEC Board of Directors will review the nominations and determine finalists. Finalists will be notified under embargo and asked to pitch their company and achievements to the Board on August 19th. There will be no public voting for these award categories. The category winner for each award will be announced at the 13th Annual Momentum Awards, held virtually on Thursday, October 1st.

Self-nominations are welcome and appreciated. The same company/individual can be nominated for more than one award and there will be five finalists per category. 1871 will contact the nominator and nominee if they are a finalist. 

Good luck! We can't wait to hear about the amazing accomplishments of the Illinois technology community. If you have any questions, please contact Kaylin Berg at kaylin@1871.com.

Not ready to submit? Find full details about the awards and their criteria, along with templates to help you prepare your text before submitting hereNOTE: To qualify, all nominations must be submitted via this online form. 

The information submitted as a part of the nomination will be kept strictly confidential, with the exception of the personal or company biography and why the nominee should win sections. That information will be used in the voting process, should the nominee become a finalist. Only the 1871 team and the judges will have access to nomination form.

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