Chicago is known for many things. There’s Chicago-style pizza and hot dogs, for starters, and while you’re enjoying the food, you can listen to Chicago blues, jazz, or soul. Chicago’s sports fans are the most loyal anywhere, and there’s no mistaking Cloud Gate, better known as “The Bean” at Millennium Park.
Here’s one thing you might not know about Chicago. It’s one of the best places in the nation for small business!
Top 5 Reasons It’s Great to Own (or Start) a Business in Chicago
1. Business-Friendly Reform
Recent pro-business reforms in the licensing process have eliminated unnecessary red tape and other barriers to entry for new small businesses in Chicago. These changes mean the city now requires fewer licenses to start a business, saving a Chicago business owner both time and money. This streamlined process, which also includes business-friendly changes to inspection procedures, supports innovation and helps entrepreneurs succeed.
2. Global Tech Hub
Results of a survey by KPMG ranked Chicago in the top 10 cities worldwide expected to be a leader in innovation. Modis, an information technology staffing company, conducted a survey to assess which housing markets may be on the verge of a tech boom and ranked Chicago as the #1 market poised to be transformed by technology.
Some of the reasons tech companies love Chicago include training and education programs, the technology infrastructure, and the culture of innovation. In addition, Northwestern University and the University of Chicago turn out well-trained graduates, adding to the city’s ever-growing talent pool. Other reasons tech startups are looking favorably at Chicago is a more manageable cost of living and cost of operating compared to Silicon Valley or San Francisco.
3. National Leader for Small Business Growth
Chicago is leading the way in the number of fast growing small businesses, ranking second in the nation according the Inc. 5000 List. In their 2015 survey, 104 Chicago small businesses were added to the list, accounting for nearly 7,500 jobs and over $4 billion in revenue.
4. Booming Hospitality Industry
The hospitality industry in Chicago grew by more than 4% in 2016, and studies indicate that the city’s tourism industry is also growing. For entrepreneurs looking to establish Chicago’s next “hot spot” for dining and entertainment, now is a great time to do it.
5. Big City with a Small-Town Feel
Chicago has big city benefits, but it maintains a small-town feel, and residents will tell you it’s a great place to call home. It’s easy to get around, with an efficient public transportation system—even a water taxi on the Chicago River—as well as bicycle- and ride-sharing services. There are miles of beaches along Lake Michigan and a riverwalk along the banks of the river. Art is everywhere, and the world-famous Michigan Avenue shopping district has something for everyone.
Chicago is a major draw for foodies, with some of the highest-rated restaurants in the world and celebrity chefs like Rick Bayless and Grant Achatz. Last but not least, Chicago is home to the Bears, the White Sox, the Blackhawks, and of course, the 2016 World Champion Cubs.
What more could you want? It’s a great time to own a business—or start one—in Chicago.