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Universities Drive New Venture Creation

Updated: May 18, 2019

The Illinois Innovation Index is an annual resource that provides timely analysis and insight on technology-based economic activity in Illinois.


The Index features innovation metrics, news, and statistical insight as an ongoing data archive tracking and benchmarking the state’s innovation economy. In its current state, the Index provides yearly insight into Illinois’ STEM talent production, R&D activity, and university-supported entrepreneurship.

Nearly two-thirds (65.5 percent) of startups founded over the past five years remain active.”

Illinois’ universities are engines of innovation and economic growth. Each year they bolster the state’s talent pipeline with 25,000 new STEM graduates and drive discovery by conducting $2.4 billion in research & development activity. Over the past decade, Illinois’ universities have also increased efforts to ensure that innovations made possible by university research are able to reach the commercial marketplace through technology transfer and the creation of startup companies. By doing so, universities create economic growth through innovation and job creation.


This 2019 University Entrepreneurship issue marks 10 years of university-supported startup data tracked by the Illinois Innovation Index. Spurred by an increase in resources and support—as well as better tracking of startups by universities—we’ve seen explosive growth in entrepreneurial activity over the past decade. This year’s issue continues that trend, with a record number of startups founded, and funding raised, over the past five years. This issue is also the first to include an analysis of job creation, further highlighting the direct economic impact of university-supported entrepreneurship.

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