CHICAGO

A great place to start a business, grow a business or expand a business from other cities around the U.S. and world.

JOIN US. THE PROOF IS IN THE FACTS

  1. Recently, 10 companies named Chicago to be their U.S. headquarters. Source: World Business Chicago Research Center (WBCRC)
  2. Chicago dominates the “Inc. 5000 Fastest Growing Companies 2020” list with $11.7B in total revenue and 30K + jobs.  Source: WBCRC, Inc.5000
  3. Chicago’s economy is ranked #21 globally by GDP, ahead of Poland, Sweden, and Belgium. Source: WBCRC, World Bank, Moody’s
  4. Chicago is the #1 metro ecosystem for women-founded start-ups. Source: Startup Genome
  5. Chicago enjoys the highest concentration of female entrepreneurs in the U.S. Source: Inc Magazine
  6. Chicago is the largest food manufacturing sector in the country. Source: WBCRC, Moody’s
  7. 400 food companies are headquartered here, up from 100 three years ago. Source: WBCRC
  8. For the eighth consecutive year, “Site Selection” magazine ranked Chicago the #1 U.S. metro for corporate relocations and expansions with over 325 new investments in 2020. Source: WBCRC, Site Selection Magazine
  9. Consumer products giant, Kimberly Clark, recently announced plans to move its North American business hub from Wisconsin to Chicago creating 250 new jobs. Source: Crain’s Chicago Business
  10. Chicago is the first U.S. city to have published an economic recovery plan. Source: City of Chicago
  11. Chicago is identified as the #1 easiest city (population > 1M) to start a business. Source: Doing Business North America
  12. Operating a tech office in San Francisco costs 50 percent more than in Chicago. Source: CBRE Scoring Tech Talent 2020
  13. Chicago has lower labor costs and better value for doing business of the top three major metros. Source: WBCRC
  14. Chicago has over 1,200 certified minority-owned businesses. Source: City of Chicago Certified Firms Directory
  15. 35 Fortune 500 companies are headquartered in Chicago. Source: Fortune 500
  16. 32 S&P 500 companies are headquartered in Chicago. Source: Markets Insider
  17. Chicago is the #1 most-diversified economy of the largest ten U.S. metros based on employment. Source: WBCRC, Moody’s
  18. More than 325 companies expanded in Chicago in 2020, and 40 have already expanded in 2021. Source: WBCRC
  19. For 7 consecutive years, IBM PLI consulting ranked Chicago as the top U.S. city for foreign direct investment. Source: IBM PLI
  20. Chicago is a Top 15 global start-up ecosystem. Source: Startup Genome Global Startup Ecosystem Report 2020
  21. Since 2015, 21 Chicago-area companies have gone public. Source: WBCRC, Crain’s Chicago Business
  22. Chicago startups have raised $2B since the start of 2021, the best quarter since 2015. Source: Crain’s Chicago Business, Pitchbook, NVCA
  23. Chicago is home to 16 tech unicorns ($1B+ valuation). Source: WBCRC
  24. ActiveCampaign and Cameo became Chicago’s two newest unicorns after raising $240M and $100M, respectively. Source: WBCRC, Crunchbase
  25. Chicago is the #1 metro ecosystem for women-founded start-ups. Source:  Startup Genome
  26. Chicago enjoys the highest concentration of female entrepreneurs in the U.S. Source:  Inc. Magazine
  27. Chicago is excited to host the official Start Trek Convention in 2022 
  28. Food entrepreneurship is on the rise. Today, there are 647 shared kitchen licenses, up from 432 in 2019. Source: City of Chicago, WBEZ
  29. There are 66 national cuisines here, making Chicago the 4th most diverse food scene in the world. Source: Forbes
  30. Chicago features 2 of “Food & Wine’s” Top 10 coffee shops in the U.S. Source: Food & Wine
  31. Chicago is the second-largest transportation and logistics sector in the country.  Source: WBCRC, Moody’s
  32. Chicago has the seventh best urban transportation system in the world. Source: McKinsey
  33. O’Hare International Airport processes 1.8 million tons of freight valued at over $200 billion annually and is a leading U.S. port. Source: WBCRC, U.S. Census USA Trade
  34. Six of the 7 Class 1 railroads in the U.S. run through Chicago. Source: WBCRC
  35. In 2021, Chicago transportation management start-ups raised $341.3 million. Source: WBCRC, Pitchbook
  36. For the last three years, Chicago has been home to the largest increase in life sciences VC funding of any U.S. city. Source;  CBRE U.S. Life Sciences Report 2020
  37. Since the start of 2021, Chicago medical product start-ups have raised $359.5 million. Source: WBCRC, Pitchbook.
  38. Chicago will deliver up to 5 million sq ft of new lab space to the city’s growing life sciences & healthcare innovation sectors. Source: Interviews with developers and commercial real estate industry.
  39. Chicago offers scalable life science lab space at the lowest cost and best value of most major life science markets; $26.43 in Chicago vs. $69.31 in Boston.Source: JLL Life Sciences Outlook, 2020
  40. The number of lab tenants seeking space in Chicago has more than tripled since early 2019. Source: CBRE U.S. Life Sciences Report 2020
  41. Chicago is home to two of the nation’s top 20 medical schools for research. Source:  U.S. News
  42. Bronzeville Lakefront development includes Chicago ARC Innovation Center, an equity-focused research arm of Israel’s renowned Sheba Medical Center. Source: SunTimes article 
  43. Chicago’s manufacturing industry employs 420,000 people with every subsector employing thousands. Source: WBCRC, Moody’s
  44. Chicago has the second largest number of employees in manufacturing occupations in the nation, with 294,700 production workers. Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics
  45. At over 1.2 billion sq ft, Chicago has the largest industrial market in the U.S., with over 33 percent more inventory than the next largest market. Source: JLL U.S. Industrial Outlook 2020Q4
  46. Chicago has the fourth lowest cost of manufacturing labor, beating metros like Houston and New York. Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics
  47. Illinois has $1.7 billion in machinery R&D, the second most in the U.S. Source: ISTC 2020 R&D Index
  48. Illinois has $770 million in food R&D, the second most in the U.S. Source: ISTC 2020 R&D Index
  49. Over three million working-age adults live within a 50-minute commute of downtown Chicago. Source: WBCRC, U.S. Census
  50. Chicago has the highest number of college grads among the seven largest U.S. cities. Source: WBCRC, U.S. Census
  51. Chicago has 132 higher-education institutions, graduating over 123,500 students every year. Source: WBCRC, U.S. Census
  52. Chicago metro area universities produce the second most MBAs in the U.S. Source: WBCRC, IPEDS
  53. Chicago metro area universities produce the fourth most engineering graduates in the U.S. Source: WBCRC, IPEDS
  54. Chicago has two of the top fifteen law schools in the U.S. Source: U.S. News
  55. Chicago has two of the top five business schools in the U.S. Source: U.S. News
  56. Within a two-four hour driving radius of Chicago, there are three of the top ten engineering schools in the U.S.  Source: U.S. News
  57. Computer Science degrees awarded in Illinois have doubled over the past five years, making us the 2nd largest producer of Computer Science degrees in the U.S. Source: ISTC 2020 STEM Talent Index
  58. Since 2010, the number of Computer Engineering degrees awarded in Illinois have tripled. Source: ISTC 2020 STEM Talent Index
  59. Chicago’s tech talent production has grown nearly 30 percent over the last five years. Source: CBRE Scoring Tech Talent
  60. Over two-thirds of start-ups founded at Illinois universities in the past five years remain active. Source: ISTC 2020 University Entrepreneurship Index
  61. One in three university-founded start-ups are in biotech or healthcare. Source: ISTC 2020 University Entrepreneurship Index
  62. Chicago is home to 12,300 tech companies, employing 344,000 people. Source: CompTIA 2020 Cyberstates
  63. Chicago is home to 1871, the #1 Private Business Incubator in the world. Source: 1871
  64. Chicago is the #1 city for highest VC Multiple on Invested Capital, at 5.6 times. Source: Pitchbook
  65. Chicago is the 2nd best data center market globally for investment and site selection. Source: Cushman & Wakefield 2021 Global Data Center Market Comparison
  66. Chicago is ranked #1 for Foreign Direct Investment Strategy in transportation, distribution, and logistics. Source: fDi Intelligence, Financial Times
  67. Chicago is home to nearly 900 foreign-based companies. Source: WBC
  68. Chicago is home one of the largest diplomatic communities in the United States, representing 89 countries. Source: WBC
  69. Chicago is home to almost 100 international and ethnic Chambers of Commerce and international trade-based organizations. Source: WBC
  70. Chicago is a leading global city, with 29 Sister Cities around the world. Source: WBC
  71. Chicago enjoys global strategic economic development partnerships with China, Japan, Mexico City, Mexico, London, England, Tel-Aviv, Israel, and Paris, France. Source: WBC

 

  1. Chicago’s creative economy is robust, employing more than 250,000 people in over 37,000 businesses. Source: Creative Economic Impact Study, ChicagoMade
  2. Chicago Public Schools offers seven of the state’s top ten public high schools. Source: U.S. News
  3. Chicago is emerging as a global leader for quantum technology which includes Duality, the nation’s first-of-its-kind quantum startup accelerator and the Chicago Quantum Exchange – by fostering collaboration between our national labs and local universities like University of Chicago, Argonne, and Fermi Labs. Source: University of Chicago
  4. Chicago is home to two out of five new National Quantum Information Science Research Centers by the Department of Energy. Source: University of Chicago
  5.  Chicago is one of the few cities in the U.S. to have local access to all three major global cloud services. Source: Cushman & Wakefield 2021 Global Data Center Market Comparison
  6. The University of Chicago’s Polsky Center and Chicago Quantum Exchange launched Duality, the nation’s first accelerator program dedicated to quantum startups. Source: Chicago Quantum Exchange
  7. In 2021, three cleantech companies, Volexion, LanzaJet and WeEnergies expanded in the Chicago region. Source: WBCRC, Crunchbase
  8. Chicago offers more than 200 miles of bike lanes and 26 miles of open lakefront with separate bike and running paths. Source: City of Chicago

 

  1. Hong Kong-based last-mile delivery company, Lalamove, recently named Chicago as its regional headquarters. Source: WBC
  2. Toronto company, Salt Experiential Commerce, recently named Chicago to be its U.S. headquarters. Source: WBC
  3. Elements Global Services recently announced the move of its global headquarters from Spain to Chicago. Source: WBC
  4. Swedish tech company, InRiver, continues to expand its Chicago U.S. headquarters. Source: WBC
  5. Dutch cold storage firm, Newcold, recently named Chicago as its U.S. headquarters. Source: WBC
  6. French heating filmmaker, ILO Technology, is expanding its Chicago presence with a West Side manufacturing facility. Source: WBC
  7. Australian fintech firm, PractiFi, is expanding its U.S. headquarters in Chicago. Source: WBC
  8. UK-based investment advisor M&G Investments recently named Chicago its new American headquarters. Source: WBC
  9. WM Reply, UK-based arm of Italian tech company Reply, selected Chicago as its U.S. headquarters. Source: WBC
  10. Solvd Health recently announced relocation of its corporate headquarters from Carlsbad, California to Chicago. Source: Crain’s article 
  11. Talis Biomedical, which recently enjoyed an IPO, announced the relocation of significant operations from Silicon Valley to Chicago. Source:  Real Estate Journal article
  12. Portal Innovations recently opened its Fulton Labs space, fueling life-science breakthroughs with human, financial, and physical capital. Source: Press release
  13. Prysm Institute, an accelerator for healthcare, life science, and technology companies, recently launched in Chicago. Source: Press
  14. Danish Pharmaceutical firm, Orphazyme, recently named Chicago as its U.S. headquarters. Source: Press
  15. Paragon Biosciences continues to grow its portfolio in Chicago, including Emalex, and the recently launched CiRC Biosciences. Source: Press
  16. Evozyne, a molecular engineering start-up, continues to grow and expand in Chicago. Source: Press
  17. Xeris Pharmaceuticals moved its company from Texas to Chicago, and recently announced relocation of its R&D team from San Diego to Chicago. Source: Company discussions/press
  18. Chicago based Tempus announced it has raised $200M, becoming the world’s largest library of clinical and molecular data and a key player in digital healthcare. Source: BuiltInChicago
  19. In February 2021, homegrown financial firm, TastyTrade, was acquired for $1 billion. Source: Chicago Business Journal
  20. Discover Financial Services committed to bringing 1,000 jobs to its Chatham call center inside a former big box store. Source: Press
  21. Redevelopment is now underway for The Terminal, a Humboldt Park urban work campus for creatives located in an  INVEST South/West community. Source: Press
  22. Chicago Transit Authority named #1 transit agency in the U.S.. “Few transit agencies in the United States have made more progress in modernizing their system over the past several years than the Chicago Transit Authority.” Source: CTA, July 2021

We are confident that there are so many more reasons why Chicago is a great place for business. If you have your own list of reasons or facts, not included here, click below and share.


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