Open For Business

The Milwaukee Region is a natural magnet for business. It ranks fifth among cities nationwide in the number of corporate headquarters per capita.

Affordable land and leasing costs, abundant fresh water, an educated workforce, low business costs and easy access to financing, technical assistance and efficient transportation have helped local businesses succeed and grow. 

MarketWatch ranks Milwaukee 20th out of 101 U.S. metro areas on its list of "best cities for business," outpacing cities such as Chicago, Atlanta, San Antonio, Los Angeles and Seattle.  

Milwaukee also receives high marks for its favorable business tax structure. Milwaukee ranked No. 4 – 4% below the national average for total taxes paid by corporations – in a study of 24 mid-sized U.S. cities by KPMG International.

In 2011, Wisconsin ranked fourth-lowest in the nation for state and local tax burden on business expansion, according to a study compiled by Ernst & Young. The study ranked states according to the local tax burdens on new investments by businesses.

Perfectly situated in the Upper Midwest, the Milwaukee Region is just 90 minutes north of Chicago and less than a day's drive from the Twin Cities, St. Louis or Indianapolis. General Mitchell International Airport provides direct or non-stop flights to more than 50 different destinations, our rail lines offer easy and economical access to markets throughout the nation, and the Port of Milwaukee connects the region with shipping markets round the world.


The Milwaukee Region benefits from a rich and diverse private-sector economy. Government jobs account for less than 11 percent of the total workforce, which is well below the national average. In addition, the public sector works closely with private entrepreneurs to help the economy adapt to emerging trends.

High-tech jobs account for much of the region's growth. Initiatives like the Center for Advanced Technology and Innovation (CATI) work with businesses to transform technological innovations into marketable products. More than a dozen university-sponsored applied technology labs help companies design and test their next-generation prototypes.


The Milwaukee Region offers a variety of financing options in addition to traditional business loans. State, county and local governments all offer aggressive packages for start-ups, expansions and relocations, while local angel investors and venture capital firms stand ready to help entrepreneurs realize their dreams. Training and technical assistance is also readily accessible.


Hard-working residents and Midwestern frugality help to ensure productivity and profitability. Land and leasing costs are lower than the national average, and the region's cost of doing business is the fourth lowest among the top 25 metropolitan areas. Not surprisingly, our low costs and skilled workforce have made the Milwaukee Region one of the hottest industrial markets in the nation.

Company Headquarters

The Milwaukee Region is home to

20 World Headquarters

including Harley-Davidson, Johnson Controls, Northwestern Mutual and SC Johnson.

Milwaukee Region Business Resource Guide