Waukesha ranks as a top small city to start a business
Organizations cites city’s prominent businesses, chamber

By Katherine Michalets - Freeman Staff

July 30, 2015

WAUKESHA - Waukesha came in at number six on a recent report by NerdWallet and Entrepreneur magazine of the top American small cities in which to start a business.

Some of the key takeaways from the report are that fast-growing industries take root in smaller metro areas, they are often near major cities and are within areas that have strong local economies with an average unemployment rate of 5.1 percent. Also, the average of median incomes is nearly $65,000, or 41 percent higher than the overall average of all cities analyzed.

According to the results, Waukesha businesses have an average revenue per business of $4,874,283 and 37.6 percent of businesses have paid employees. Also, there are 6.75 businesses per 100 people in Waukesha.

The report reads, “this community of 70,775 has a core of businesses that has made it a magnet for engineers, scientists and other high-skilled workers. Waukesha is home to Generac, a leader in power generation equipment, as well as GE Healthcare, which focuses on cutting-edge technologies in health care. With such prominent companies, it isn’t hard to attract new entrepreneurs to Waukesha, though the City of Waukesha Chamber of Commerce is a driving force in bringing small businesses to this suburban Milwaukee city.”

Multiple calls to the City of Waukesha Chamber of Commerce were not returned for comment Wednesday.

The top city in the report, Alpharetta, Ga., has an average revenue per business of $6,908,899 and 36.45 percent of businesses have paid employees. Also, that city has 15.07 businesses per 100 people.

One other Wisconsin city made the list - La Crosse at number 10. It has an average revenue per business of $2,709,859 and 43.91 percent of businesses have paid employees. The city also has 5.94 businesses per 100 people.

Russ Roberts, manager of the Waukesha County Technical College Small Business Center, said often big businesses like Generac and GE Healthcare started as small businesses, and small businesses started as micro businesses.

“We have a lot of good local resources in Waukesha County in general,” he said. “(There is) a very solid focus on helping businesses start and grow.”

Roberts also pointed out that the city of Waukesha is a great place to live, play, get a job and start a business.

“It has got the four ingredients in it to make it a great city,” he said.

Being near large cities like Madison and Milwaukee also help Waukesha.

“You have to have the infrastructure to help businesses,” Roberts said. “In reality you have to grow them and have resources to start and grow.”


Email: kmichalets@conleynet.com