Andrea Zopp, President & CEO, World Business Chicago

Since its founding in 1837, Chicago has attracted people from rural communities, the South and immigrants from abroad who sought a better life. The city offered hope and a place where everyone from any country or culture could rise. Over the course of major historical events from the Great Chicago Fire to the two major World’s Fairs, to the Industrial Revolution, two major World Wars, and the Civil Rights Movement, Chicago stands tall today as a city that is a thriving metropolis of economic growth and diverse talent.

When World Business Chicago was first created in 1999, our focus was to drive job creation through corporate attraction and foreign direct investment. While those remain core functions, today the scope of our mission has broadened to drive inclusive growth and neighborhood development throughout the entire city.

One of the sectors that is seeing major growth throughout the city is technology and innovation. In “The Changing Landscape of Disruption Technologies,” a KPMG study released in March of this year, Chicago tied with Boston for No. 2 as the most innovative city nationwide. In 2017, according to Downers Grove-based CompTIA, a global trade association for technology professionals, Chicago had 14,014 tech businesses and employed 341,600 tech workers across all industries. These numbers are not surprising considering that Illinois is the second largest producer of computer science degrees and the fourth largest producer of MBA degrees in the United States.

Our scale and diversity offer a unique pipeline from which businesses can recruit the best talent in any industry, develop innovative products and technologies, access any corner of the world, and enjoy a quality of life in Chicago that offers something for everyone.

Today the new economy is one that is built on fresh ideas that happen locally but make an impact globally.  This agility will help us continue to establish Chicago as a city that leads in innovation as it continues to invest in neighborhoods, build talent, and create the leaders that will drive growth for all of Chicago.

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