Chamber President & CEO Jack Lavin recently joined a round table on the success of Illinois’ start up sector in 2021. The year 2021 saw nearly 200,000 businesses formed, the highest number ever recorded.

According to the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO), 198,827 business startups were created in Illinois during 2021, a 17% increase from 2020. Not only does this total surpass pre-COVID statistics, it also sets the record for the highest-ever number of business startups since the data was first reported in 2004.

In February 2022, Governor Pritzker and the Illinois DCEO hosted a round table at 1871 Chicago to present this data, which was provided by the Business Formation Statistic Report. The round table consisted of more than a dozen business and startup leaders from the Chicagoland area including the Chicagoland Chamber’s President and CEO, Jack Lavin, Betsy Ziegler of 1871, Larry Eppley of Sheppard Mullin, and more.

Chicago has served as a hub for many of these newly found businesses despite recent challenges brought on by the pandemic. The increasing rate of business startups highlights advancements in technology and the unbroken entrepreneurial spirit of our city.

Chicago’s tech and entrepreneurial ecosystem is built on strong foundations – our anchor institutions, our K-12 education and higher education systems, a diverse economy, and a culture of innovation. We must continue to foster this ecosystem which will mean new jobs and economic opportunity for years to come.

Jack Lavin, President & CEO of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce

With a sharp increase in business startups, support becomes especially important. The Illinois Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce provides fundamental resources and advising for small businesses and startups throughout the Chicagoland region.

We need to build upon these foundations and our world class competitive advantages like our workforce, infrastructure, airports, and great quality of life.  We need to enact policies that continue to support, and not inhibit, our small businesses and business community at large. We need to foster an ecosystem for our entrepreneurs to realize their life dreams.

Jack Lavin, President & CEO of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce