BMO Harris Bank on Monday announced the second installment of its accelerator program with the Chicago-based technology incubator 1871, an effort designed to find and nurture fintech companies in the Chicago metropolitan area and Wisconsin.

Known as the BMO Harris/1871 Innovation Program, the accelerator began last year with six Chicago-based startups working with BMO mentors. Three continue to have discussions with BMO Harris to explore further opportunities, the bank said in a press release.

Erminia (Ernie) Johannson and she’s with BMO Harris Bank
Ernie Johannson, group head, U.S. personal and business banking for BMO Harris Bank.

This year, the program has been extended to firms located in Wisconsin as well as Chicago, in conjunction with gener8tor, a Wisconsin-based technology accelerator, and the entrepreneur- support organization Kinnektor.

Technology companies from across Chicago and Wisconsin are encouraged to apply by May 29 for one of potentially eight placements. The program will closely follow last year’s schedule, which includes a period of mentorship for the startups followed by a presentation in the fall where all the startups will present their product or service to a panel of BMO Harris bank judges.

The three winners will be awarded a total cash prize of $50,000, with the opportunity to continue discussions with BMO Harris at the conclusion of the mentorship program to pilot their product.

“Last year’s program was a great success; we continue having discussions with all three winners to pilot their services because we find value in what they have to offer,” Ernie Johannson, group head of U.S. personal and business banking for BMO Harris Bank, said in the release. “This year we are excited not only to continue the partnership with 1871, but also to welcome new partners in Wisconsin to amplify our talent pool and create new synergies all around.”

For more information on the program, eligibility and how to apply, interested applicants can visit: