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My wife was a member of the inaugural Boston class, and I did the following session. It's a great program for career changers—it massively accelerated my startup network. I particularly appreciate SI's focus on EQ in additional to hard skills. Being better at Photoshop or Rails or inside sales is helpful, but in startups it's critical to understand how to communicate with people who operate on a different wavelength, and how to coexist in stressful environments. SI puts an upfront emphasis on those softer skills.
Interesting angle to take via an accelerator. Let's see if @aaron0 can jump in and answer some questions.
I know several folks who have done the Startup Institute in Chicago, including my brother @bcuttica who was part of the inaugural batch. I even helped teach a couple sessions on building marketing personas for the technical marketing track. It's an excellent program, specifically for those with some work experience that are looking to make a career change. I like how the sessions are taught by folks from actual startups in the area -- this serves to give valuable first-hand experience and help the students strengthen their network at the same time. On the flip side, it provides local startups with access to a pool of smart, hard-working individuals eager to get their hands dirty with whatever projects the partner companies are willing to give them. To that end, I'm excited to see the Chicago chapter partner with @1871Chicago -- feels like the perfect match of growing startup ecosystem and hungry talent. Would be great to hear @tullman and @yeefunk share their thoughts.
As @PCutty mentioned I was part of the inaugural Chicago class. I'll second what @adamsigel said about SI being particularly beneficial for career changers. I am biased as that was my situation, but found that learning hard skills, combined with a warm introduction to a lot of Chicago companies, made the transition from finance to working with startups a lot smoother. Prior to SI, I found it difficult to get my foot in the door, so to speak. SI opened quite a few of those doors.
I'm curious about what markets they'll be expanding to next. I vote Toronto :)