In the New Midwest, All Good Things Are Possible

September 18, 2017

“There is more latent value in the Midwest than anywhere else on earth.”
-Andy Jenks, Partner, Drive Capital

The Midwest is often caricatured as the humble heartland of America or a struggling region wishing for a bygone era as an economic power. The Midwest of today is neither. In fact, the Midwest of today is full of high-performing metro areas, dynamic startup environments, common sense economic policy and some of the greatest universities in the world.

Business has taken notice. Silicon Valley and foreign-owned companies are investing billions in Midwestern states and entrepreneurs are taking advantage of a growing ability to access venture capital. Investments made by Facebook, Sofidel and Drive Capital are just a few examples of this in action. Local and state governments are building infrastructure that will enable smart city technologies and healthier, more accessible cities.

Citizens have taken notice. College graduates are staying in the Midwest to launch careers, skilled workers are returning to raise their families, and entrepreneurs and artists are bringing neighborhoods and downtown districts to life.

We have work to do in the Midwest to leverage terrific assets and the enormous GDP that the region represents. We can do more to create awareness of these assets so that more students, skilled workers and immigrants choose the Midwest to launch and accelerate their careers, build wealth and reinvest in their communities. We can continue to host companies and visitors from around the world to build understanding beyond the caricatures and economic nostalgia.

Six incredible stats about the Midwest:

  • The Midwest’s population is 71 million people and GDP is $3.8 trillion. If the Midwest were its own country, it would be the 20th largest in the world by population and fifth largest in the world by GDP.
  • 30 percent of Fortune 1000 headquarters are based in the Midwest.
  • 49 percent of U.S. vehicles are produced in the Midwest.
  • The Midwest is responsible for 22 percent of U.S. exports.
  • The Midwest is home to 13 of the top 50 engineering colleges and universities.

And, in the recently announced top 25 cities for jobs, it’s Midwestern cities that lead the list, with Ohio’s three Cs – Columbus, Cincinnati and Cleveland – all appearing the top 10.

-Kenny McDonald

One Columbus Update

  • Last week, Hyperloop One announced that the proposed Chicago-Columbus-Pittsburgh route is one of 10 winners of its Global Challenge. The route would connect Columbus to Chicago and Pittsburgh via tube transportation, reaching each city in under 30 minutes. Congratulations to MORPC and all the partners who worked on the proposal.
  • This week, the One Columbus team is in Toronto for the International Economic Development Council’s 2017 Annual Conference. Back at home, we’re hosting companies considering the Columbus Region for investment.
  • Next week, our team will travel to Las Vegas for PACK EXPO and to Seattle for the Site Selectors Guild’s 2017 Annual Fall Forum.