Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel graced the stage at Techweek Chicago’s 2017 Growth Summit to talk with Techweek CEO, Amanda Signorelli, about the importance of tech in Chicago. “I rank it an 11/10,” he said. He then shared 5 amazing facts about why Chicago is a perfect hotbed for startup and tech growth:
- Chicago is the most diversified economy in the US and one of the most in the world: no sector drives more than 13-14% of employment in the city
- It’s the second most competitive economy in the US, 7th worldwide
- Chicago has more universities and colleges than any city in the US except for Boston; this facilitates a crucial connection between research institutions and entrepreneurs building great new things
- Of the ten big cities in the US, Chicago has the lowest cost of living. The cost of living is 1/3 what it is in NY or SF. In Mayor Rahm’s words, “you can get a view of the lake for $1,200 [rent]. In San Francisco, you can’t get a view of a pond for less than $3,500.”
- Chicago has more graduates from the big ten universities than any other city in the US.
These stats illustrate why Chicago is such a great city for young and mature companies alike. With regards to the tech scene in Chicago, Rahm pointed out the success of companies like Braintree, Cleversafe, and Fieldglass, which were acquired by big Silicon Valley/outside companies (Paypal, IBM, and SAP respectively), but kept and grown in Chicago. This, Rahm says, is evidence that Chicago is a rich hub for tech talent.
Additionally, with the recent rise of Chicago born and raised unicorn, Outcome Health, this city’s ecosystem can truly be called “flourishing,” lending credence to Techweek’s Hero Company Theory, which posits that economic agglomeration is best created by a handful of successful companies that spur growth in their local ecosystems.
Check out Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s conversation with Techweek CEO Amanda Signorelli in the video!