When it comes to startups, the Windy City is hot stuff. In only a decade, the number of businesses settled in Chicago surged by a whopping 270%! It is not surprising that real estate companies will encourage you to secure office space for rent in Chicago as soon as possible. Why do the future Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos prefer to set up shop here?

1. Cost of Real Estate

Land is a precious commodity, and as more people migrate to the United States, it becomes even more expensive. It may not be the case in Chicago. The median home value in the city is $242,000, according to Zillow. It is about $20,000 more than the national average. The growth, though, slowed. It declined in 2019, and by 2020, it will fall further by -0.3%. It could be a piece of gloomy news for property investors. If you are planning to move here to open a startup, however, it means cheaper rent. How about the prices for office space for rent in Chicago? The Wall Street Journal reported that prices fell by 4% for these properties.

2. Cost of Living

It is not only rent that is affordable in Chicago, but other necessities are also. When compared to San Francisco – where the Silicon Valley lies – the Windy City wins on many fronts. The data from Numbeo revealed that consumer prices are almost 13% lower in Chicago than in the Bay Area. Food is around 12% cheaper. Utilities are easier on the pocket as well. Electricity, heating, and garbage could cost more than $140 in California. In Chicago, it is less than $132. Childcare also does not break the bank. A full-day preschool in Windy City is $1,142 but over $2,000 in San Francisco. Granted, California provides higher wages than Illinois. Still, a lower cost of living leaves families and workers enough wiggle room.

3. Talent

What is a business without talent? Fortunately, Chicago is teeming with them. For one, it has a diverse population. It has an almost equal percentage of blacks, whites, and Hispanics. It is also home to other nationalities such as Chinese, Indians, Filipinos, and English. In a company, diversity helps develop a more sustainable, innovative, and open culture atmosphere. Everyone learns from the educational background and work ethics of one another. The state also has one of the best engineering programs in the country. The University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign ranks 10th for 2020 by US News & World Report.

4. Ease and Cost of Doing Business

Chicago continues to attract startups because of the cost of doing business. According to KPMG, it performed better than popular cities like New York or Los Angeles in more than 20 factors. These include financing costs, taxes, and facilities. The company also considers the Windy City as a metropolitan area that provides the best value for money. In 2015, the PricewaterhouseCoopers placed Chicago as one of the best cities to work and live. It was also one of the only four metros to make it to the list.

Final Thoughts

Doing business in Chicago does come with challenges. For example, it is dealing with the millennial brain drain. It needs to provide more appealing incentives to businesses. The city, though, offers what matters most to startups. It provides a lower cost of living, best value for company money, and a diverse pool of employees with an incredible work ethic.

Featured image credit: Unsplash.com

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Lisa Alther

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