Mayor of Chicago, US, Rahm Emanuel has announced that five Chicago-based universities are soon going to launch Global Entrepreneur-in-Residence (EIR) Programme. The five universities are: Columbia College, DePaul University, Illinois Institute of Technology, Loyola University and Northwestern University. During the first year of the programme, the universities will work with the city of Chicago and sponsor 10 to 20 visas for start-up founders.
“We want entrepreneurs to see Chicago as a place where their ideas/their dreams or their companies can happen,” Emanuel said in a press conference. “I believe this initiative … is saying yes to entrepreneurship, yes to diversity and most importantly, yes to the future of the city of Chicago.”
Entrepreneurs will be sponsored by the universities on the basis of their company’s growth. The universities will also employ early stage entrepreneurs on part-time basis to work separately on their companies.
Under the programme, start-ups will get a chance to set up a office at their sponsor university and mentor its students.
It is expected that the applications under this programme would be exempted from an annual cap on H-1B visas, which restricts spots to 65,000, with another 20,000 reserved for those with Master’s degrees or higher.
The universities are allowed to run the admissions and reviews independently for the programme, although the requirements and decisions would be unique.
A programme on similar lines was also launched by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2014, firstly at university’s Boston and Lowell campuses, and later at Babson College.