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Since 2016, Gray Matter has directly supported 95 teen social entrepreneurs across Chicago’s South and West sides, invested over $95,000 in seed funding and pro-bono services into 9 teen-founded companies and worked with over 600 students across the city to expose them to entrepreneurship practices. 


Our students have participated and won in citywide pitch competitions where they were the youngest competitors and have generated revenue from sales, in some cases, over $45,000!


We have been featured in Essence magazine twice, Fox32, Chicago Inno, Chicago Tribune, named as Industry Program of the Year, been nominated for Chicago Innovation Awards, mHUB’s Revolution Awards and countless others.

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2016 - 2017

  • Piloted our first 9-week bootcamp, serving 15 students from Chicago's South and West sides

  • Incubated two companies: Lip Locker and RecruiTeen

  • Awarded $20,000 in seed funding, scholarships and internship stipends 

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2017 - 2018

  • Expanded the bootcamp length to 12 weeks and supported 20 young entrepreneurs. 

  • Incubated two companies: Chi Chic and KGO 

  • Awarded $40,000 in seed funding, scholarships and internship stipends 

  • Added in-school programming to our program portfolio

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2018 - 2019

  • Supported 21 participants in our annual bootcamp

  • Incubated two companies: The Arkitekt Foundation, Mobeni Fashion, Youth Entrepreneurship League, Kangaroo and Strength Together

  • Awarded over $35,000 in seed funding

  • Served four Chicago high schools through our in school program

  • Launched our Partnership and Auxiliary programs - partnering with After School Matters, The Academy Group and Embarc to create custom content and entrepreneurship development. 

  • Served a total of 150 students

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2019 - 2020

  • Pivoted to virtual programming and expanded our program nationally to Baltimore, Houston and New Jersey. 

  • Incubated one company: Student Uprise, providing $3000 in seed funding 

  • Expanded partnership/auxiliary programming, adding partners E.A.T. and Arrupe College

  • Launched Pitch Black Unplugged, awarding $3500 to budding youth entrepreneurs across the country.

  • Launched new program series: Ideate, Activate and Accelerate. Piloting Ideate Fall of 2020 with 14 participants nationally. 

  • Program demand grew rapidly as a result of the Black Lives Matter movement. Served 212 students in total 

  • Raised $330,000, the largest amount raised in our history. 

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2020 - 2021

  • Launched our inaugural Associate Board, a collection of diverse young professionals who serve as ambassadors of Gray Matter and help raise funds, awareness for our mission, and elevate the overall profile of the organization 

  • Launched Hustle Hacks digital program, served 14 young entrepreneurs during pilot

  • Completed two summer programs: In collaboration with the Illinois Science and Technology Institute and Code Nation, TGME conducted a 6-week program called The 6x3 Project and led entrepreneurship workshops for After School Matters’ Learn & Earn: Career Connections program, in conjunction with the Chicago Housing Authority.

Join us for our 5th Year Anniversary Celebration

UNTAPPED: Powering the Possibilities for a New Generation of Black Entrepreneurs 

November 11-12, 2021 

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