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About OPEN Chicago

OPEN Chicago is a voluntary not-for-profit association dedicated to the promotion of entrepreneurship and professional excellence within diaspora communities in Chicagoland and the Midwest. Our members include professionals, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, scientists, social leaders, academics, and students.

President's Message

Dear Friends and Colleagues:

Welcome to OPEN Chicago! We are one of the fastest growing chapters within the OPEN network of 12 chapters across the globe. 

My vision for OPEN Chicago is to serve as the platform for Americans of Pakistani origin and diaspora communities, not only in Chicago, but also across the entire Midwest. 

I invite you to come experience OPEN Chicago and learn how you can get involved. Take the opportunity to meet like-minded individuals, give back to your community, and see what your community can do for you. I hope to see you at one of our many upcoming events. Past events include our Annual Business Conference, our Mentorship Breakfast, Fireside Chats, and social events including brunches at meetups and dinners. In addition, Charter Members and their families have the opportunity to attend the OPEN Global Conference which is held annually. Previous locations of this Conference include Monterey, CA, Leesburg, VA, and Long Beach, CA. As someone who has attended all three of these conferences, I can attest that they were weekends filled with learning, networking, entertainment and fun for not only myself, but also for my family. I also invite you to participate in our future webinars and virtual events. Come join us to learn, connect, network, and amplify the positive contributions of diaspora entrepreneurs and business leaders across Chicagoland and beyond. 

Please reach out to us if you have any questions. 


Haris Ahmed
President, OPEN Chicago
CEO, Pragmatium Consulting Group, Inc.

Upcoming Events

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2017 Annual Business Conference Program Details



9:15 - 9:45

Networking over Coffee and Pastries

9:45 - 10:00

Kickoff – Welcome

Welcome Address by Haris Ahmed (President, OPEN Chicago; CEO, Pragmatium Consulting Group, Inc.)

10:00 - 10:05

Message: Representative of Chicago Office of the Mayor*

10:05 - 10:10

Message: Mr. Faisal Niaz Tirmizi (Consul General of Pakistan, Chicago)

10:10 - 10:15

Message: Kewan Khawaja (President, OPEN Global; Co-CEO, Technologix)

10:15 - 11:00

Keynote Address: Immigrant Entrepreneur Success Story and Overview of Chicago’s Entrepreneurial Ecosystem

Speaker: Jai Shekhawat (Founder, Fieldglass; Board Member, 1871)

11:00 - 11:45

Panel Discussion #1: Changing Landscape of Healthcare

Panelist(s): Khan Siddiqui (Founder and Chief Medical/Technology Officer, higi); and two additional panelists*

Moderator: Omair Siraj (Founder and CEO, Chestnut Health Company, Inc.)

11:45 – 12:30

Lunch Break

12:30 - 1:15

Panel Discussion #2: Entrepreneurial Stories

Panelist(s): Rehan Allahwala (President, Super Technologies, Inc.); Zain Jeewanjee (CEO, Insure 123 Insurance Agency, An Escalon Services Company; Founder and CEO, G1G Travel Insurance);Sajid Patel (CEO, Optimal Design)

Moderator: Aamir Chalisa (Managing Director, Futurity First Insurance Group)

1:15 – 1:45

Energizer: Improv for Entrepreneurs

Pad Connelly (Artistic Director, CSz Business Chicago)

1:45 - 2:30

Panel Discussion #3: Pakistani-American Arts Entrepreneurship: An Emerging Enterprise

Panelist(s): Malik Gillani (Founding Executive Director, Silk Road Rising); Fawzia Mirza, Actor, Writer, and Producer; Sadia Uqaili (Founder, Explore Their Stories, Inc.)

Moderator: Zafar Malik (Dean for Development & University Relations, East-West University)

2:30 - 3:15

Panel Discussion #4: Analytics and Artificial Intelligence

Panelist(s): Omer Abdullah (CEO, Smart Cube); Charles Kwon (Managing Partner and Co-Founder, Concitor); and Raheel Retiwalla (Director of Digital Business Strategy, BlueMetal, Inc.);

Moderator: Farrukh Khan (Co-Founder and CEO, Inference Analytics)

3:15 – 3:45

Final Keynote : Women in Leadership, Media Trends

Speaker: Rida Khan (President, Style Network Channel)

3:45– 4:00


Closing Comments and Recognitions

4:00 – 5:00

Networking Reception

Our Vision and Mission

The vision of OPEN Chicago is to serve as platform that creates value for its community of stakeholders. We seek to inspire, meaningfully connect, and mentor young professionals in their careers; serve as a platform for aspiring entrepreneurs to solidify business plans, find teams members, and fund their ventures; facilitate business acceleration of established enterprises; seek to promote social entrepreneurship; and leverage the platform to increase stakeholder access to critical resources and thought leaders in the Chicago area, nationally, and internationally through sister OPEN chapters.

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OPEN Chicago is a Chicago Chapter of Open Global Initiative.
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