Chicago Enters Race to Settle Space with Space-Related and Space-Scalable Business Plan Competition

LogoWednesday, February 10, 2016 – Chicago IL – Chicago enters the race to develop commercial ventures in outer space with a Business Plan Competition (BPC), fully focused in space-related and space-scalable business start-ups in or around the Chicagoland area. The NewSpace Chicago BPC will be held on March 16th, 2016 at 1871, a local high-tech incubator in downtown Chicago. Submissions will be accepted from February 2nd, 2016 until March 9th, 2016. Contestants will compete in a “shark-tank” style event, each having 15 minutes to present their business plan and answer questions before a panel of judges.  The winner of the NewSpace Chicago BPC will receive a $2,500 cash prize and a guaranteed place in the national NewSpace BPC, to be held in Seattle on June 23, 2016.

This event is organized by NewSpace Chicago, a space industry networking group, in partnership with the Space Frontier Foundation, Heinlein Prize Trust, and Orbital Transports, LLC. The competition in Chicago is the regional qualifying event for the national NewSpace Business Plan Competition organized by the Space Frontier Foundation.  The national BPC will select the winners from among contestants from Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, Chattanooga, and Colorado Springs.

NewSpace Chicago explained that “space‐related” businesses provide services and products necessary to sustain civilization in space. These services logistics, scheduling and transport, construction, energy, food, air and water, habitation, finance, insurance, communication, resource extraction, and manufacturing.  For example, you would need to eat food in space, so there will be demand for vegetables planted in space.  On the other hand, “space‐scalable” refers to a solution developed to solve problems here on Earth, and that can be scaled to solve key problems in a space. For example, a technology to attenuate the effects of radiation is of great benefit to cancer patients receiving chemotherapy, but will also address a major concern once you leave the atmosphere.

The goals of NewSpace Chicago and the competition are to promote Chicago as a center of excellence for new commercial space, space-related, or space-scalable ventures, and to build community around them in the Chicago area.  Chicago was selected because the city has all of the ingredients to grow new commercial space ventures, including its status as a global financial leader, a technology and innovation center, a transportation hub, a large science and engineering workforce, and a number of world-class colleges and universities. NewSpace refers to the for-profit use of Low Earth Orbit and outer space by private companies.

About NewSpace Chicago

NewSpace Chicago was founded in 2015 by David Hurst, Joel Vinas, and Ulisses Meneses to build community around the space industry and new space ventures in the greater Chicago metropolitan area.  The group hosts monthly meetup events to connect students, scientists and engineers, entrepreneurs, investors, and others who are interested in or are involved with the creation of new commercial space ventures.  NewSpace Chicago is organizing the NewSpace Chicago Business Plan Competition to promote Chicago as a center of excellence for new commercial space, space-related, or space-scalable ventures

To find out more about the NewSpace Chicago and the NewSpace Chicago Business Plan Competition, please visit  To find more about the national NewSpace Business Plan Competition, visit

About the Space Frontier Foundation

Founded in 1988, the Space Frontier Foundation is an advocacy organization committed to realizing the vision of a greatly expanded and permanent human presence in space. Space alone offers the resources necessary to ensure the survival and prosperity of our species for numerous generations to come. To realize this vision, the Foundation is fundamentally transforming the conception of space as the exclusive domain of government and government-affiliated organizations into a widely accessible frontier, ripe with opportunity.

To find out more about the Space Frontier Foundation, please visit

About 1871

1871 is the home of more than 350 early-stage, high-growth digital startups. Located in The Merchandise Mart in downtown Chicago, this 120,000 square foot facility is also the headquarters of nationally recognized accelerators Techstars Chicago and the Good Food Business Accelerator; impact investing fund Impact Engine; half a dozen industry-specific incubators; several emerging tech talent schools, and the state’s leading technology advocate, the Illinois Science and Technology Coalition. 1871 has fast become recognized as the hub for the city’s entrepreneurial/technology ecosystem and has been featured in Inc. Magazine, TechCrunch, and Crain’s Chicago Business among other top media. 1871 is the flagship project of the Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center.

To find out more about 1871, please visit

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