Is Chicago the new Promised Land for Tech-Centric Businesses?
Written by Adam Canton, Practice Manager in Jobspring Chicago
Some cities have built a reputation for being a hub for technology-driven companies. San Francisco is best known as Silicon Valley. Manhattan has been dubbed Silicon Alley. However, it is apparent that after living in Chicago for eight months, Chicago is on the fast track to compete with the East Coast / West Coast rivalry.
In sheer population size, Chicago is third largest city in the United States. While the East and West have a number of cities in which to build a business, Chicago is far and away the king of the Heart Land. Every year college grads from all universities within 500 miles of the city flock to Chicago. This means not only do young Computer Science and Engineering grads come to the Chicagoland area, but that business professionals and entrepreneurs also come to seek their fame and fortune. And as anyone with a bit of business savvy knows, technology is the best tool to leverage a successful business.
Now that we have an understanding of what drives people to settle in Chicago, all we need is a fertile ground to build business.
Incubators like 1871 and Excelerate Labs are gaining traction in building out the startup community in Chicago. Incubators have proven to be both huge successes and epic failures, depending on the business model. Whether success or failure, what incubators do is drive technology into the market.
Venture Capital firms pour money into new technology businesses. To mitigate their risk, they will fund a number of up-and-coming businesses. If one out of every five businesses becomes a success, the VC firms make their money back tenfold. What does this mean for those young business professionals and tech-hungry computer scientists? It means that there is no shortage of fuel to the technological business fire.
Let’s not forget about Chicago and its relationship to corporations. It is easy for startups to implement the latest and greatest technologies to drive business, but don’t forget that large, established companies are not ignorant to the utility of technology. Chicago is ripe with massive healthcare, financial and retail companies. In order for those companies to stay relevant, they need to adopt new technologies. Just look at Hyatt and Microsoft moving offices from the suburbs to the downtown Chicago area. Almost monthly large companies are making plans to move to Chicago for one reason-- they want the ability to hire the best talent.
In my opinion, Chicago is the enterprising new kid in technology advancement. If companies are not already established in Chicago, or don’t have plans to be, they are going to see their top employees making the switch to move. In the past three months, my team has personally relocated five people into new local roles. These technologists ranged from living in California, New York and the Southeast Coast. They all moved for the opportunity to work in the place to be, Chicago.