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6 Damn Good Reasons to Work (and Live) in Chicago

September 19, 2012

2:33 pm

As a startup founder, finding the right city to establish your headquarters is a paramount decision.  Positioning yourself near the right investors, mentors, and early adopting customer base are all key ingredients to startup success, but above all, the happiness of a startup’s employees predicts long-term performance.  And let’s face it, not all cities are created equal.

Aside from being the greatest sports city in the world (probably unrelated: I am from a Chicago suburb), today we take a deeper look at why you may want to work and live in Chicago, Illinois.   The below six reasons are the insights of entrepreneurs who have made the Windy City their home.

1) Cost of Living

When you start to add in that the cost of living, salaries, and office space are 40-60 percent less than the coasts, it means that startups here only need to raise a fraction of the venture capital needed elsewhere. In addition, it makes the viability of bootstrapping much more realistic.

– Seth Kravitz, CEO at Technori

2) Midwest Work (and Play) Ethic

The Midwest mentality and work ethic is all about solving real problems and building high-growth companies. We work hard but also know when to call it a day. I think this is more sustainable than what I’ve observed in other cities and it’s always felt good to me.

– Jeff Judge, Co-Founder and CEO at Signal

3) Abundance of Tech Employment Opportunities

There are great early stage tech companies and large well established companies to work for.  Your choices are huge here as an employee looking at tech companies.

– Jorge Zapata, Co-founder at Local Offer Network

4) Cultural Diversity

Chicago is a melting pot of all ethnicity including Mongolians. You can find any type of food, culture and traditional clothes.

– Ola Ayeni, Chief Idea Officer Dining Dialog

5)  Entrepreneurial Support

In Chicago’s sprawling Congressional District 7 there are 22 colleges and universities, each with some substantive support to offer entrepreneurs and small business owners. Some say there are two or three thousand Entrepreneurial Support Organizations in the Greater Chicago Metroplex. Yet outside groups are coming in from both coasts, the U.K. and elsewhere to set-up shop to prop-up what we cannot — and should not — do for ourselves to ignite, scale, and sustain, through entrepreneurship, job creation and value creation for our economy.

– John R Dallas Jr.,  Chief Alignment Officer at Hillview Partners Network LLC

6)  Food, Beverage, and Recreation

At home, I can walk up the street and take my kids to one of the biggest parks in the city, enjoy killer amenities provided free of charge by the city such as our neighborhood library and community field house w/indoor pool, fitness center, baseball fields, etc. In this same neighborhood my wife and I can easily dine into any cuisines we’re in the mood for, catch a movie at the Davis Theater and drink beers at one of several outdoor beer gardens/rooftops (Fountainhead, Gene’s Sausage Shop). There’s always a great neighborhood or community festival happening throughout the city.

– Jeff Judge, again.

Ready to make Chicago Your Home?

Good, because you can.  Check out the jobs below (or browse through the Chicago Jobs Listing) to see which is the ideal fit for you.

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When Zach Davis isn't getting lost in the mountains, he is hustling from Boulder, CO as Tech Cocktail's Director of Marketing. He is the author of Appalachian Trials, a book chronicling the mindset necessary for thru-hiking all 2,181 miles of the Appalachian Trail, a feat he accomplished in 2011. Zach is a green tea enthusiast, die-hard Chicago sports fan, and avid concert-goer. Follow Zach on Twitter: @zrdavis.

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