Unexpected? Sure, if you’re not from Milwaukee or the Midwest. Amazing? Of course!
Lists are lists, but we should all be proud to share a new one from Inc., "3 Unexpected Places That Are Actually Amazing for Startups." Because, you guessed it, Milwaukee's on it.
Writer and entrepreneur Andrew Medal says, "these cities are great alternatives for startups who can't afford Silicon Valley." He touts rents, co-working spaces and more.
Going strong since 1998, OnMilwaukee is still in startup mood. Profitable, mission-driven and positioned well for the future, we’ve hustled and grown a business that’s one of the country’s finest digital agencies and online magazines. Shoulder patting aside, we’ve also seen the Milwaukee area grow as a place where businesses can start, fail, reboot and retool. Cheers to all the startups that make Milwaukee go.
Here’s what Inc. had to say about Milwaukee:
When you think of the midwest you may think more readily of Dorothy and corn than Zuckerberg, but that may not be the case for that much longer. In 2016 alone, the Midwestern town saw an increase of a whopping 145 percent in venture capital funding for startups, to $111.8 million. While the total is still a far cry from the likes of Silicon Valley, the growth itself is incredible.
What's also incredible? The average cost of a two-bedroom apartment in Milwaukee is just over $1,382, a quarter of San Francisco. However, don't assume that price means you're living in a startup desert – there are two highly respected incubators in the city for early stage businesses, and large companies like Rockwell Automation, GE Healthcare, Plexus, Johnson Controls and many others lend engineering gravity to the area.
Still not enough to rent an office out? No problem! Milwaukee boasts many co-working spaces, as well as proximity to Madison, a more established startup hub, and connections to Chicago.
With its size and access to resources, Milwaukee’s in a great spot to continue to flourish as a startup area.
I’ve been involved with and a part of many startups in the past several years. They are all fun, challenging and unique. Doing it in Milwaukee creates a sense of pride and purpose for a city that’s built on building, commerce and connections.
Our area's startup mentality may be "unexpected" for many, but it’s how we work every day here in MKE.
Now, let’s all continue to work together to further our city’s identity as a great place to do business, live, work hard and play in.
The other cities on this new list were Salt Lake City and Buffalo.
On a related note: If you haven't seen this new video from Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, check it out and share it.
A life-long and passionate community leader and Milwaukeean, Jeff Sherman is a co-founder of OnMilwaukee.
He grew up in Wauwatosa and graduated from Marquette University, as a Warrior. He holds an MBA from Cardinal Stritch University, and is the founding president of Young Professionals of Milwaukee (YPM)/Fuel Milwaukee.
Early in his career, Sherman was one of youngest members of the Greater Milwaukee Committee, and currently is involved in numerous civic and community groups - including board positions at The Wisconsin Center District, Wisconsin Club and Marcus Center for the Performing Arts. He's honored to have been named to The Business Journal's "30 under 30" and Milwaukee Magazine's "35 under 35" lists.
He owns a condo in Downtown and lives in greater Milwaukee with his wife Stephanie, his son, Jake, and daughter Pierce. He's a political, music, sports and news junkie and thinks, for what it's worth, that all new movies should be released in theaters, on demand, online and on DVD simultaneously.
He also thinks you should read OnMilwaukee each and every day.