A great place to start a business, grow a business or expand a business from other cities around the U.S. and world.
"We believe that the values of the city you are doing business in matters more than ever before."
CEO & President
World Business Chicago
and Chief Marketing Officer
City of Chicago
There are more than 100 reasons why Chicago is a great city for businesses to start, scale, expand and grow. May the below list of the most recent 25 stats, attributes and strengths, be a mere starting point in your consideration of relocation, expansion and growth in Chicago.
Contact us to learn how we can help your company become positioned for success in Chicago, connecting you to our city’s inclusive economic development, job creation and access to opportunity; consider us your business development concierge service.
- July, 2022: Timeout named Chicago the #2 best city in the world (behind Ediburgh, Scotland).
- Chicago is the only U.S. city that made the top 10, beating out New York, San Francisco, and other US metropolises.
- Chicago is home to 60 museums, including the Art Institute of Chicago, voted one of the best museums in the world by TripAdvisor users.
- Chicago’s art scene is world-renowned, from public sculptures and murals by Picasso, Miro, Calder, and Matisse, to the largest digital art projection in the world at Art on theMart. Source: World Business Chicago.
- Chicago rank’s six for parks, considering access, investment, acreage, amenities, and equity. Here 98 percent of residents live within a 10-minute walk of a park. Source TPL.
- There are 66 national cuisines here, making us the 4th most diverse food scene in the world. Sourve: Forbes.
- Among the city’s KPI’s includes pro-Chicago decisions, i.e., companies making decisions to expand existing footprint, or the relocation and/or expansion of companies into Chicago. In 2021, World Business Chicago reports 173 pro-Chicago decisions, 73 new locations, 100 expanded existing operations, and 38 businesses investing in the South or West sides of the city. (footnote 1)
- Chicago is the first U.S. city to have published its economic recovery plan, a plan that continues to drive business development today. Source City of Chicago.
- Chicago’s economy is thriving and poised to have the best economic recovery of any big city in the U.S.
- For the ninth consecutive year, Site Selection magazine ranked Chicago the #1 U.S. metro for corporate relocations and expansions.
- Chicago is one of the most-diversified economies of the largest U.S. metros (based on output and employment); ranked #22 globally, ahead of Poland, Sweden, and Belgium. Source: World Business Chicago Research Center, Moody’s.
- Chicago is identified as the #1 easiest city (population > 1M) to start a business. Source: DBNA.
- Chicago has over 1200 certified minority-owned businesses. Source: City of Chicago Certified Firms Directory.
- Chicago is the second-largest transportation and logistics sector in the U.S. Source: World Business Chicago Research Center
- For 7-consecutive years, IBM PLI consulting ranked Chicago as the top U.S. city for foreign direct investment.
- Business activity in Chicago continues to accelerate. Consider that 81.1 percent business license renewal rate in 2021. More businesses renewed their licenses in 2021 than pre-pandemic, 81.1%, up from 76.4% in 2019. (footnote 1)
- Chicago is the #1 city for the highest VC multiple on invested capital.Source: Pitchbook.
- Chicago saw $9.7 billion in growth capital in 2021, including nearly $7 billion in venture capital, double from 2020. (footnote 1)
- Total unicorns (companies achieving a $1 billion valuation) in Chicago surpass 21. (footnote 1)
- $11.3 billion in investments from 86 planned projects heard by the Chicago Plan Commission, up from 63 in 2019. (footnote 1)
- $1.4 billion in investments across INVEST South/West neighborhoods over the past two years. (footnote 1)
- Fintech is a high growth tech sector here. 2021 was a record-breaking year for fintech in Chicago; overall mirroring global trends, while the concentration of financial and insurance talent in Chicago outperforms the national average. (footnote 2)
- Chicago’s transportation, distribution and logistics (TD&L) industry is one of the nation’s largest. The metro area boasts the nation’s number port by value, the largest intermodal facility, the most TD&L firms in the U.S. and the nation’s second largest TD&L workforce. TD&L has not only fully recovered from pandemic related challenges, but exceeds 2019 levels. (footnote 3)
- 6 of the 7 Class 1 railroads in the U.S. run through Chicago. 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: USA Trade.
Chicago enjoys a legacy food manufacturing industry, today thriving due to a clustering of companies innovating in food and beverage and record venture capital investment, more than Boston and Seattle. (footnote 4)
- Speaking of manufacturing, Chicago’s manufacturing output (GDP) is nearly $97 billion with 410,000 workers, just behind LA in size.
Footnote #1: World Business Chicago, Chicago Business Bulletin, 2021 Year in Review
Footnote #2: World Business Chicago, Chicago Business Bulletin, Fintech in Chicago
Footnote #3: World Business Chicago, Chicago Business Bulletin, Logistics Tech in Chicago
Footnote #4: World Business Chicago, Chicago Business Bulletin, Innovation in Chicago’s Food Industry
FOR MORE INFORMATION
World Business Chicago’s Research Center publishes new content monthly, including the Chicago Business Bulletin, providing in-depth analysis of Chicago industries and emerging ecosystems.
Learn More →
World Business Chicago’s Research Center also publishes a monthly Economic Recovery Dashboard that details the current conditions of the city’s activity, business climate, workforce trends and more.
Learn More →
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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