Sterling Bay, the Chicago-based real estate development firm, today announced the launch of the Prysm Institute, a business accelerator that provides resources to emerging and established companies specializing in life sciences, healthcare and technology. Led by Executive Director Dr. James Gillespie, Prysm Institute aims to deliver its members unparalleled access to some of the nation’s leading healthcare and life science innovators, creating opportunities for shared learning, networking and financial investment.
“As Chicago officials prioritize the growth of the city’s healthcare, biopharmaceutical and technology industries, we’re seeing rapid expansion and increased interest in the city as a home for growing businesses,” said Andy Gloor, CEO of Sterling Bay.
“Prysm Institute will play an important role in the Chicago’s evolution as hub for future innovation by providing critical resources to companies that want to grow their operations here make a more meaningful impact in their industry.”
Sterling Bay is leading Chicago’s real estate efforts to position the city as a leader in biotech discovery. Earlier this year, Sterling Bay redeveloped 2430 N Halsted into a life sciences lab space and is planning a life science innovation district at its 53-acre development, Lincoln Yards.
The Prysm Institute, led by Dr. Gillespie, will be another addition to the development firm’s life sciences portfolio and provide entrepreneurs in the industry – particularly people of color – with access to mentorship, capital and high-quality collaboration space, located at 2430 N Halsted, to advance their operation through three initial programs: Equity for Equity, The Huddle, and the Chicagoland Healthcare Innovation Podcast (CHIP).
“The vision for Prysm Institute is to provide a space for industry entrepreneurs, executives and investors to come together, share ideas and explore new business opportunities through proprietary programs that open doors for capital investment and professional development,” said Gillespie.
Historically, women, especially Black women, have had an especially difficult time raising funds for startup companies. Last year, women-led companies only received 2.8% of total startup capital, with Black women receiving even less. Prysm’s “Equity for Equity” program is aimed at increasing the flow of private equity investment to female, Black/African American, Hispanic/Latinx, LGBTQ+, veteran and differently abled owned and operated startups in the healthcare, life sciences and technology sectors.
Participating entrepreneurs will also benefit from insights from colleagues and peers through “The Huddle.” Aimed at opening lines of communication and mentorship, The Huddle is an intense mentoring experience where participants meet to address challenges and opportunities, benefits and costs, related to a predetermined problem chosen by the company being mentored.
Finally, to provide participants and interested partners with awareness of industry trends and happenings, the Prysm Institute will host a monthly podcast entitled, Chicagoland Healthcare Innovation Podcast (CHIP). CHIP will bring attention to people and organizations working in telehealth and digital therapeutics while increasing understanding of the breadth and depth of Chicagoland’s assets in healthcare and life sciences.
Illinois Governor JB Pritzker states, “Early in my administration I issued an economic plan that focused on life science as one of the six key sectors to lead our economic growth. Illinois is already a powerhouse in life science, with Chicago leading the charge. We’re home to the second largest biopharma concentration and over the past four years, the Illinois life science community has seen a $1 billion increase in venture funding, placing us in the top five states for investment. The launch of the new Prysm Institute is further proof that our state, with its world-class universities and large biotech talent pool is a leader in this critical industry. The institute will provide critical support for entrepreneurs and businesses looking to advance the life science field.”
Chicago’s Mayor Lori Lightfoot also supports the initiative stating, “The Prysm Institute is an exciting new addition to Chicago’s world-class life sciences ecosystem and exemplifies the cross-sector dynamism of our city’s diverse economy. I applaud Sterling Bay not only for its foresight in supporting this cutting-edge sector, but for its efforts to unleash the wealth of talent and opportunity in our own communities by focusing on local entrepreneurs from diverse backgrounds. As we move forward from the COVID-19 pandemic, we must continue to prioritize industries like life sciences and the values of equitable growth — both of which were outlined in Chicago’s COVID-19 Recovery Task Force report — in order to fully realize the once-in-a-generation opportunities created by this crisis and boldly lead the nation in our historic recovery.”
“Ultimately, Prysm Institute will provide entrepreneurs with a community catered to fostering growth,” said Dr. GIllespie. “Chicago has the ability to become a global leader in these emerging industries, and we’re confident Prysm Institute will serve as an important tool to help it reach its full potential.”