Chicago Offers Robust Business Climate

With a clear view on what the future holds, a Chicagoland location is a strong base for business, according to Kyle Schulz, Chief Growth Officer, World Business Chicago.

By BF Editors
From the March/April 2024 Issue

 

Business Facilities: Please describe the area that the work of World Business Chicago impacts?

Kyle Schulz: World Business Chicago spearheads transformative economic development initiatives, propelling Chicago and the Chicagoland region to unparalleled heights.

We recently published the Year in Review Report for 2023, announcing that 163 companies made pro-Chicagoland decisions in 2023, resulting in 23,100 jobs and over $1.87 billion in revenue. I share this as it underscores our impact.

Chicago Business Climate
Kyle Schulz, Chief Growth Officer, World Business Chicago

 

The Chicagoland region’s status as the nation’s third-largest metro economy, was fueled by a 5.2% growth in professional services and robust manufacturing contributions, in 2023. This, plus the strong investment and interest in emerging industries of quantum tech, life sciences, and climate tech, solidifies our position as a super region. Further, our unwavering commitment to equitable and inclusive economic growth ensures every sector thrives, cementing the Chicagoland region’s reputation as a global economic powerhouse.

BF: Would you describe the region’s broad advantages for business?

Schulz: Recent investments and developments underscore our collective commitment to position the Chicago region and the state of Illinois as a leading global business hub. The Chicago brand remains robust, backed by its status as the third-largest metro area and a Top 20 global economy. Renowned for its abundant talent pool and prestigious universities, Chicago offers unparalleled livability and affordability. With median home prices among the lowest compared to peer cities and a steady increase post-pandemic, Chicago presents compelling advantages for businesses seeking growth and sustainability. Through strategic investments and collaborative initiatives, we’re shaping a vibrant business climate conducive to success in emerging industries like quantum tech, climate tech, and life sciences.

World Business Chicago, Chicago Business Climate
Chicago downtown and Chicago River at night. (Photo: Adobe Stock / f11)
BF: What are the targeted industries for Chicagoland?

Schulz: Chicagoland’s economic landscape is strategically structured around six pivotal industries, ensuring equitable opportunities for all. These sectors, meticulously chosen for their alignment with our region’s strengths and inclusive job creation, include: Life Sciences; Transportation, Distribution & Logistics; Manufacturing; Financial Services, Technology and Innovation; Food and Agriculture; and the Creative Industries.

At World Business Chicago, our mission is to orchestrate seamless integration across each sector’s key elements—universities and talent, capital, startups, and companies—facilitating maximum growth potential. Our concerted efforts drive innovation, foster collaboration, and propel Chicagoland’s economy to new heights of prosperity and diversity.

BF: What are long-standing advantages for business?

Schulz: In 2023, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative unveiled plans for the Chan Zuckerberg Biohub Chicago, a groundbreaking biomedical research center. Situated in Chicago’s popular Fulton Market neighborhood, the CZ Biohub serves as a nexus for leading scientific and technological institutions, aiming to tackle profound scientific challenges over a decade-long span. Spanning 28,200 square feet, this facility features specialized labs, engineering equipment, and spaces for expanded and diverse scientific discourse. Chan Zuckerberg’s decision to choose Chicago for this hub, investing some $250 million in it, underscores the collaborative efforts of key stakeholders—from university officials to government representatives—solidifying Chicago’s position as the preferred destination for pioneering ventures outside Silicon Valley.

World Business Chicago, Chicago Business Climate
In October 2023, Gov. JB Pritzker (second from right) attended the Chan Zuckerberg Chicago Biohub grand opening in Chicago. (Photo: courtesy World Business Chicago)
BF: What are recent developments that companies should know about when it comes the business climate?

Schulz: From the governor of Illinois to the mayor of Chicago, and the principals of the Greater Chicagoland Economic Partnership, we’re mobilizing private and government investments to propel our region’s economic growth. Embracing emerging industries such as quantum tech, climate tech, and life sciences, we’re fostering an innovative ecosystem ripe for investment and collaboration. With robust support from public and private sectors, coupled with strategic initiatives to enhance the business climate, companies can expect unparalleled opportunities for success in the dynamic landscape of the Chicago region.

BF: What does the future hold?

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Schulz: Our vision for the future revolves around the emergence of “super regions” as the cornerstone of societal organization. Companies will no longer base investment decisions solely on a single locale but on the comprehensive business ecosystem offered by a region. This shift emphasizes the importance of regional collaboration to facilitate access to essential partners for innovation, talent, and growth. Chicago exemplifies this trend, attracting foreign companies like HyperSense Software. Drawn by Chicago’s thriving tech scene, cultural diversity, and supportive business environment, HyperSense Software found the ideal platform for U.S. expansion.

As regions like ours, lean into establishing ourselves as a “super region,” collaborative regional economic development efforts, like the Greater Chicagoland Economic Partnership, are paramount in bringing together a range of interests to foster growth and prosperity.

Check out all the latest news related to Illinois economic development, corporate relocation, corporate expansion and site selection.

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