Chicago, Illinois is fast becoming known as a hub for technology and entrepreneurial activity. The University of Chicago has opened a new campus on the southwest side of Chicago near downtown; the University of Illinois at Chicago is renovating its flagship campus on the south side; and other colleges and universities are establishing campuses in Chicago as well. Since there is such a proliferation of educational and research institutions in Chicago, many aspiring entrepreneurs are thinking about starting a business in this dynamic Illinois city. Fortunately, Chicago has made itself home to several startups and established companies that offer office space and other amenities to corporate clients.
In fact, since coworking spaces are located within walking distance of many of the Chicago attractions and other cultural hot spots – such as the Chicago Riverfront or the Adler Planetarium – it makes sense for startups to look into Chicago while seeking a headquarters. The startup scene in Chicago has already attracted a number of well-known companies, including Apple Inc. and P & G Companies. In fact, both P & G Companies and Apple have established their first headquarters in Chicago.
In addition to being a center for startups, Chicago has some of the most luxurious and lavish accommodations available in the world. Specifically, the Loop is an urban neighborhood that is perfect for young professionals who are starting out on their careers or those who wish to relocate to the city but would like to have access to a wide variety of amenities. Chicago’s Loop has three major business districts – West Loop, North Loop, and Back Loop – each with a plethora of public transportation, parks, museums, hotels, and shopping centers. The South Loop is also beginning to emerge as a competitive market for new businesses as it is seeing an influx of investments into retail and tech shops.
There are two main areas of Chicago that embody the spirit of what a coworking space would look like in this urbanized metropolis: the Central Business District and the Gold Coast. The Central Business District, which includes the skyscrapers of the Chicago Stock Exchange, the Scottrade Center, the Hilton Chicago Plaza, and the Bank of America World Tower, as well as the John Hancock Building are home to the nation’s third-largest financial district. Within walking distance of all of this commerce is the upscale Gold Coast, a cultural hub of music and downtown dining. The north side of the Loop contains the historic West Loop, home to a multitude of loft buildings, public parks, and museums. With all of these recreational, business, and cultural options in close proximity to one another, many Chicagoans choose to live in the downtown area and work in the chic Gold Coast or the Loop.
Another group of people that benefits from Chicago coworking spaces are the young professionals and entrepreneurs who are starting out on their own and need a place to call home. As they work their way through their new business ventures, many of these individuals feel that they cannot be at the office on weekends because they need to be able to come home and recharge their batteries. This is where Chicago’s coworking spaces come in handy. Not only can they provide the needed workspace, but they can also help them create a social environment, complete with fellow entrepreneurs and freelance writers. By staying in an environment with like-minded workers, these young professionals will have the chance to meet other people with similar interests and experiences, which will help them build an entrepreneurial network that can help them later on in their careers.
The third main grouping of Chicagoans that make use of Chicago coworking locations is comprised of retirees. Many Chicago area retirees either work in the city or in nearby suburban areas, so the opportunities to meet other retirees are not limited. Many of them prefer to stay in the quiet confines of their homes, but they still want to be in an environment where they can talk with other people and get free range office services. The answer to this problem is a Chicago-based coworking space, where retirees can meet freelancers, professionals, and entrepreneurs alike. Chicago events space providers such as Tech Lounge offer both meeting and event space for these groups.