1871 announces SomruS Board Member Jai Shekhawat will be named the 2016 entrepreneurial champion at the ninth annual momentum awards

jai-shekhawatSuccessful entrepreneur, mentor, and civic-leader will be honored; Sold Fieldglass to SAP in 2015 in one of Chicago’s largest tech exits; Sits on numerous boards and advises dozens of companies in Chicago

1871 and the Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center announced Tuesday they will honor Jai Shekhawat, the founder of Fieldglass, for his dedication to the entrepreneurial community at the ninth annual Momentum Awards. The Entrepreneurial Champion Award will be presented to Shekhawat at the annual gathering of the Chicago technology and entrepreneurial communities on October 6, 2016.

“Jai is the ultimate example of an entrepreneur, a leader, a friend, a business colleague, and a Chicagoan,” said James J. O’Connor, Jr., chairman of the board of CEC. “He leads every day with his actions, his resources, and his energy, and the city is better for his efforts.”

Jai Shekhawat founded Fieldglass, a software platform that offers a Vendor Management System to manage large contingent workforces through cloud-based technology, growing it to the largest in the world with users in 25+ languages in a 120 countries. He ultimately sold Fieldglass to SAP for over $1 billion in 2014, and stepped down as the CEO in 2015.

Currently, Mr. Shekhawat serves on the Boards of Semantify, Health Engine, Fleet Complete, SomruS, Highground, OfficeLuv, Signal, Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center, and Utopia. He is on the board of advisers for Madison Dearborn Partners, StarVest Partners and KDWC Ventures.  He is a Trustee at the Field Museum of Chicago and a former board member at Metrosquash. Jai is also a Founding Member of the Firestarter Fund and an active angel investor in more than 40 startups.

“I’m honored and humbled to receive this award,” Shekhawat said. “I love being a part of this community and I’m fortunate to have the opportunity to give back and help lay the groundwork for the next generation of successful entrepreneurs. I look forward to continuing this work for many years in the future.”

The Momentum Awards Dinner, which will host over 750 entrepreneurs and community leaders from the Chicagoland area on October 6, is Chicago’s largest annual event celebrating entrepreneurial accomplishments. The Entrepreneurial Champion Award is an honor granted each year by the Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center, along with the Corporate Champion Award, the Chicagoness Award and the Momentum Award.

“The Entrepreneurial Champion award is a great reflection of the spirit of entrepreneurship in Chicago,” said CEC and 1871 CEO Howard A. Tullman. “I’ve known Jai for decades since he was a student of mine at Kellogg. He, like the others who have been recognized before him, is a wonderful example of all that is happening in this community and the way that individuals are stepping up to shape our collective future. We are very proud of him and appreciative of his efforts.”

Last year the Entrepreneurial Champion Award was presented to Jeff Aronin for his contributions to the healthcare industry while serving as the CEO of Marathon Pharmaceuticals and his leadership as the co-chair of MATTER. J.B. Pritzker, Richard Melman, Tom Ricketts, Gordon and Carol Segal, Michael Ferro, and Brad Keywell and Eric Lefkofsky have all been honored with the Entrepreneurial Champion Award in the past.

1871 makes an effort to open up the dinner to entrepreneurs, and facilitates strong interactions between some of our best entrepreneurs and the attendees of the dinner. To learn more, visit 1871’s website.

About 1871

1871 is the home of almost 500 early-stage, high-growth digital startups. Located in The Merchandise Mart, 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 in key areas such as real estate, education technology, food and financial technology; several emerging tech talent schools (Fullstack Academy, Anyone Can Learn to Code, Future Founders,Designation and the Startup Institute), and the state’s leading technology advocate, the Illinois Science and Technology Coalition. It is the second home to Chicago-based VCs, Pritzker Group Venture Capital, MATH Venture Partners, Hyde Park Angels, OCA Ventures, OurCrowd and Chicago Ventures, as well as satellite offices for DePaul University, Northwestern University, University of Illinois, University of Chicago, Loyola University Chicago, Illinois Institute of Technology, and DeVry. 1871 has fast become recognized as the hub for the city’s entrepreneurial/technology ecosystem and has been featured in Inc. Magazine, TechCrunch, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Chicago Tribune and Crain’s Chicago Business among other top media. 1871 is the flagship project of the Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center.