There Is Something Special Going On in Wisconsin

BY: Jordon Geiger

I was doing some spring cleaning in my office recently, and came across a stack of periodicals from 2009/10 that, in stark terms, painted a picture of the business environment in Wisconsin at the time.

Headlines included:

  • “Lack of Jobs Available for Willing Workers” (Wisconsin was ranked No. 49 in private-sector job growth in 2008
  • “The Brain Drain Continues” (in 2009, it was estimated that Wisconsin lost 14,000 college graduates to other states)
  • “No Funding Available for New Businesses” (Wisconsin ranked in the bottom 10% for funds available for new businesses)

If you’re like me, seeing titles like these isn’t a surprise – it doesn’t take much effort to recall just how dire economic straits at the national, regional, and local levels were at the time these stories went to press. What may be surprising – and is inarguably remarkable – is the degree to which Wisconsin has rebounded in the years since the Great Recession, particularly relative to its neighboring states.

And people are beginning to take notice. Here’s what some of the leading publications in the country are saying about business in the Badger State:

According to Forbes Magazine, Wisconsin’s job outlook has improved to #24, up from #49 a decade earlier

  • S. News & World Report named Wisconsin the Best State for Job Opportunities
  • Per WalletHub, “Wisconsin is ripe with opportunities for passionate people to make an impact,” placing the state at #8 for job market strength
  • In an annual ranking of top Midwest startup ecosystems compiled by Silicon Prairie News, 6 Wisconsin cities made the list: Madison (#5), Milwaukee (#8), Green Bay (#22), La Crosse (#29), Eau Claire (#33), and Racine (#36)
  • Commercial real estate firm CBRE had Wisconsin ranked 3rd in the country for fastest-growing tech talent
  • Based on research by The Atlantic, Madison is a top 15 city in the world for access to venture capital (per capita)
Aside from its traditional capabilities in agriculture, manufacturing, and healthcare, Wisconsin is now making deep strides in biohealth, water technology, and aerospace. In fact, according to the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, our state is expected to gain 120,000 STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) jobs by 2020.

In my own community, in Dane County, the number of resources now available to budding entrepreneurs – like StartingBlock Madison, MERLIN Mentors, and the UW-Madison Family Business Center – is not only wonderful to see, it’s translating to immeasurable results and has helped drive the dramatic improvement in the state’s business landscape. 

There is, indeed, something special going on in Wisconsin, and I am excited to see what the next few years have in store for us.

Contact any member of our Business Team today to find out how we can help you realize your commercial goals.


Jordon Geiger

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