Anheuser-Busch Briefing Center, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
1615 H St NW, Washington, D.C.
Registration and Breakfast: 8:00 a.m.-8:30 a.m.
The Town of Chicago was established in 1833 with a population of 200. Within just a few years, Chicago grew into a city of over 4,000. It emerged as a major trading and transportation point, and by the early 1900s Chicago’s flourishing economy was attracting huge numbers of new immigrants from Europe and the American south.
Today, Chicago is an international hub that thrives on a combination of mature industries (such as finance, manufacturing, and transportation/distribution) and emerging industries (such as healthcare, IT, R&D, and green energy) industries.
With $500 billion in gross regional product, according to World Business Chicago, the city has the third largest regional economy in the United States. If Chicago was a country, its economy would rank ahead of Belgium and Norway.
Numbers are one thing, but if you dive into Chicago’s economy you see that it’s made up of a diverse array of industries. For instance, the local economy boasts over four hundred major corporate headquarters, thirty S&P 500 companies, twenty-nine Fortune 500 headquarters, and ten FT Global 500 headquarters. It’s also a global economy, with 1,500 foreign-owned firms calling Chicago home and more than $40 billion in foreign direct investment coming in each year. The private labor force is equally large and diverse, consisting of roughly 4.3 million people and at least thirty-five ethnic groups.
Chicago’s economy continues to grow as new businesses are created or expanded. The city’s economy alone has grown from $133 billion in 2007 to $177 billion in 2011. That’s not the end of it though, as Chicago is considered a top spot for economic potential among major cities across the world. In 2011, Inc. Magazine included 212 companies from the Chicago region in its annual list of the 5,000 fastest-growing companies in the United States.
The MasterCard Worldwide Centers of Commerce index ranked Chicago fourth in the country based on its legal and political framework, economic stability, ease of doing business, ample financial flows, and standing as a business center and hub of knowledge and information.
The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMPA) conducted a regional snapshot on the industry clusters found in the city. Called the GO TO 2040 Initiative it focuses on studying what it calls “sustainable prosperity.” The resulting comprehensive regional plan seeks to maintain and strengthen the Chicago area’s position as one of the nation’s few global economic centers. Prosperity, in the view of the GO TO 2040 Initiative, is driven largely by a combination of infrastructure, overall business environment, workforce, and amenities. The plans includes nurturing regional clusters, creating a culture of innovation, and increase commercialization of research
Chicago is a hub of educational institutions, with world-class programs and a diverse group of faculty and students. Many of these schools receive top dollar in federal research and development funding—the kind that fuels innovation. The University of Illinois, University of Chicago, and Northwestern University, are among the schools that embrace their roles in fostering a culture of innovation. They do so by incorporating economic development as a component of their mission. Each school has an approach that celebrates entrepreneurship, innovation, and collaboration in the university community.
Furthermore, the region is home to numerous community and technical colleges providing access to two-year degrees, skill enhancement, and other workforce development strategies. According to A.T. Kearney’s Global Cities Index, colleges and universities in the city of Chicago award more than 25,300 bachelors, 19,400 masters, and 3,900 doctoral degrees every year.
A coalition of not-for-profit organizations, such as the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, Illinois Science & Technology, and Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning and the World Business Chicago, launched the Illinois Innovation Index a few years ago. The index observes four key themes: dynamism, capital, talent, and business climate. The coalition hoped in launching the index to engage and educate a broad community of businesses, investors, researchers, policymakers, and educators through the analysis, benchmarking, and promotion of innovation and entrepreneurial activity metric throughout the region. So far, it seems to be on the way to achieving those goals. One highlight from the index is that the numbers of patents issued in Chicago has increased by 54% between 1997 and 2008. Not only that, but 13,000 new businesses were created, $1.4 billion in venture capital was awarded, thirteen institutions ranked top third in R&D awards by the National Science Foundation, commercial internet subscribers rates doubled the national rate, and much more.
In recent years, companies such Boeing, United Airlines, BP, Willis Group Holdings, Barilla, Acco Brands, Motorola Mobility, Motorola Solutions, Sara Lee, Clayco, Dynamite Data, Durata, and many other small, medium, and large firms have relocated to Chicago.
Why do these firms locate in Chicago? When considering corporate talent acquisition planning, note that Chicago is often the choice when deciding where to start a career. According to GradSpot.com, Chicago is #1 City for Recent Grads. Check out this link for the top ten reasons why recent grads are attracted to Chicago.
Chicago is a smart, dynamic city that offers a quality of life unparalleled by any other major metropolis, providing a true community with world class amenities for businesses and people. The city offers restaurant, shopping, hotels, farmer markets, arts, culture, sports, and recreation. Sure sometime it gets really hot, sometime it get really cold, but with some much to do, Chicagoans embrace the joy of each season.
We’ll explore some of the emerging opportunities in Detroit, the Motor City.
About InnovateCity Project
An analysis on venture capital, entrepreneurialism, technology, R&D, research and development, new business, startups, exports and more. Topics include venture capital, entrepreneurs, cluster mapping, research and development, patents, manufacturing, broadband deployment, STEM attainment, technology transfer, and much more.