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Credibly Business Index Names Chicago Best Midwest City for Small Business


Ben Goldstein

What’s the best Midwest city for small businesses? According to the Credibly Business Index, Chicago reigns supreme — and it’s not even close.

With an Index rating of 86, Chicago scored the highest out of 40 major cities that we analyzed across Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. (You can see the complete list of Midwest cities at the end of this post.)

The Credibly Business Index takes data from the United States Census and the US Small Business Administration — such as the number of businesses in each city, their annual revenue, and how many businesses stay open after their first two years — and uses a proprietary calculation to crunch those variables into a single number on a scale of 1-100, which reflects the friendliness of those cities towards small businesses.

Chicago’s strong showing is due to its 46,298 unique small businesses, generating $122,832,938 per year in cumulative revenue. The two-year survival rate for Chicago businesses is relatively high, with only 29% of businesses failing within the first two years. 20.5% of Chicago businesses (9,492) reported that they took out small business loans to meet their operational needs.

Coming in second place on the list of best Midwest cities for small business was Indianapolis, which earned a Credibly Business Index rating of 80. No other Midwest city scored higher than 75. Check out the Midwestern leaderboard below, and the full list of 226 U.S. cities on the Credibly Business Index right here.

The Top 10 Best Midwest Cities for Small Business

Chicago, IL (CBI rating: 86)
Indianapolis, IN (80)
Omaha, NE (75)
Columbus, OH (74)
Minneapolis, MN (74)
Cleveland, OH (73)
Detroit, MI (73)
Wichita, KS (73)
Springfield, MO (70)
Madison, WI (69)

And the Rest…

Lincoln, NE (68)
Sioux Falls, SD (68)
Cincinnati, OH (64)
St. Louis, MO (64)
St. Paul, MN (64)
Kansas City, MO (63)
Fort Wayne, IN (60)
Cedar Rapids, IA (58)
Evansville, IN (58)
Fargo, ND (57)
Milwaukee, WI (57)
Toledo, OH (57)
Grand Rapids, MI (56)
Rockford, IL (56)
Kansas City, KS (53)
Aurora, IL (52)
Overland Park, KS (51)
Sterling Heights, MI (51)
Warren, MI (51)
Akron, OH (50)
Naperville, IL (50)
Dayton, OH (46)
Topeka, KS (46)
Springfield, IL (45)
Ann Arbor, MI (42)
Peoria, IL (40)
Columbia, MO (39)
Olathe, KS (36)
Joliet, IL (35)
Independence, MO (31)