Chicago has many things that make it unique, including Lake Michigan, a booming population, a thriving manufacturing industry, a prime location in the heart of the country and much more. Running a small business in the city is unlike anywhere else. Here is a sample of what makes Chicago the perfect place in which to own and operate your small business.


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Its neighborhoods

Like many cities, Chicago is broken up into many sub-areas, but the city is home to 77 neighborhoods, which creates a strong sense of community. According to NextCity, “Chicago has a claim on being the birthplace of the modern community development finance movement.” These initiatives have led the city to invest in its neighborhoods, helping the economy and strengthening community.

Manufacturing is a key industry

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For startups and other small businesses that sell goods, Chicago is an excellent business location, as there are plenty of options for manufacturing, although many of the manufacturing locations also work with businesses that export their products. Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP), a regional planning organization, states, “The Chicago metropolitan area is home to the nation’s third largest manufacturing cluster, with over 560,000 jobs in industries ranging from computers and electronics to metalworking and pharmaceuticals. In recent years, growth of global population and income have led to increased foreign demand for U.S. manufactured products. Since the recession ended in 2009, national and regional manufacturing exports have grown in value by 11 and 12 percent per year respectively, underscoring the importance of global commerce in today’s economy.”

Close proximity to agriculture

Outside of the city of Chicago, one of the most prevalent industries in Illinois is farming and agriculture. As such, it is easier to access locally sourced food, dairy and other farmed goods. Agriculture also benefits the Chicago economy on a wider scale. The Illinois Department of Agriculture states, “[Illinois] ranks first in the nation with $180 billion in processed food sales. Most of these companies are located in the Chicago metropolitan area, which contains one of the largest concentrations of food-related businesses in the world. As such, Chicago is also home to some of the best dining in the country. Having a business in Chicago is great for entrepreneurs in many industries. The strong sense of community allows business owners to build a connection with their customers, and a booming tourist population gives businesses word of mouth advertising to people from all over the world. Find which neighborhood is the perfect fit for your business.


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This article was written by Alaina Brandenburger for CBS Small Business Pulse.