Out of the nation’s 40 largest metropolitan areas, the Milwaukee region ranked second-to-last in Kauffman’s 2016 Index of Startup Activity Report, which evaluates startup activity in states and metro areas. Thus, it came as a surprise when popular business media outlet Inc. recently listed Milwaukee as one of three great, underrated cities for startups looking to save some money.
Inc. cites abundant co-working spaces, low rent costs and venture capital funding growth as notable assets for budding entrepreneurs who are looking for a more affordable alternative to big cities. In 2016, Milwaukee saw $111.8 million in venture capital funding for startups – a remarkable 145 percent increase from the previous year. Milwaukee’s proximity to Madison, a well-established startup hub, serves as an additional benefit.
Recent efforts to re-brand Milwaukee’s image to the rest of the world may prove to be more critical than ever as outsiders look to the city as a potential location for growing startups. (Outsiders don’t exactly see Milwaukee as a sophisticated, cosmopolitan city booming with business opportunity.) Milwaukee’s potential for startup success, along with the recent rise of in-movers to the area, suggest that economic growth may be on the horizon for Cream City.