Illinois Emerges as National Leader in Startup Creation

SPRINGFIELD, IL (STL.News) Governor JB Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) today highlighted recently-released data from the Business Formation Statistics Report that shows Illinois is leading the Midwest, and is among the top ten states nationally, in business startups – in addition to reaching the highest recorded number of business startups. Highlights include:

Illinois Highlights:

– In 2021, 198,827 business startups were created in Illinois, which is an increase from 170,400 in 2020
– In 2021, Illinois recorded its highest-ever number of business startups since the data was first reported in 2004.
– Illinois has 69 percent more business startups in 2021 compared to pre-pandemic levels in 2019 (198,827 compared to 117,392). From 2019 to 2020 there was also a 45 percent increase in business startups 117,392 to 170,400).

Regional Highlights:

– In 2021, Illinois had the highest number of business startups in the Midwest (as defined by the Census bureau), with 44,000 more business startups than the closest ranked state (Ohio, 154,818).
– Illinois also had the highest growth in business startups (69 percent) in the Midwest between 2019-2021.

National Highlights:

– In 2021, Illinois had the 6th highest number of business startups in 2021 (behind FL, CA, NY, TX, & GA).
– Illinois ranks eighth in the nation in business startup growth, from pre-pandemic levels in 2019 to 2021 (behind MS, GA, SC, LA, AL, WY, DE);  it is the largest state to rank in the top ten for growth in the nation.
– This rate of growth in business startups from pre-pandemic levels in 2019 to 2021 is the 8th-highest in the country, highest in the Midwest, and 2nd-highest among the 20 largest states (behind Georgia).

“Illinois’ prowess in attracting and growing new businesses is a testament to the power of a state that balances its budgets, provides fiscal stability for entrepreneurs, supports families, and builds a firewall around the rights of the people who call her home,” said Governor JB Pritzker.  “With yet another record-breaking year under our belt, Illinois kicks off 2022 with a message for the world:  we’re back and open for business.”

“Governor Pritzker has prioritized Illinois’ workforce and economy – and it shows: businesses in Illinois are launching in record numbers,” said Sylvia I. Garcia, Acting DCEO Director.  “From innovative tax incentives for new businesses, to small business centers designed to support up-and-coming entrepreneurs, Illinois remains committed to investing in proven programs that spur innovation, create jobs and boost our economy.”

Governor Pritzker’s 5-year plan for economic growth offers a blueprint for creating jobs, boosting investment in underserved communities, and leveraging growth in regional industry clusters.  Key programs that support business growth include:

  • Advantage Illinois:  Advantage Illinois is designed to enable small businesses to obtain medium to long-term financing, in the form of low-interest loans.
  • Angel Tax Credits:  Angel tax credits encourage investment in innovative, early-stage companies to help companies obtain the working capital needed to further the growth of their company in Illinois.  Investors in new companies can receive a state tax credit equal to 25% of their investment (up to $2 million).
  • Illinois Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs):  Through SBCDs small businesses receive technical assistance and other support, including helping entrepreneurs looking to launch new businesses.
  • Economic Development for a Growing Economy (EDGE) program:  Illinois’ EDGE program provides annual corporate tax credits to qualifying businesses which support job creation, capital investment and improve the standard of living for all Illinois residents.