Metro Milwaukee area among top 20 U.S. cities for veteran entrepreneurs

Downtown Milwaukee
Downtown Milwaukee

A new report from the PenFed Foundation that lists the top cities in 2021 for veteran entrepreneurs ranks the Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis area 19th out of 390 metropolitan areas analyzed. Madison was ranked 17th.

The foundation used data from a series of government databases, census information, data from the National Association of Veteran Serving Organizations and VA, and additional statistics from private foundations.

PenFed evaluated each of the 390 metropolitan areas across four categories: livability, growing economy, support for veterans and ability to start a business. There are 10-15 weighted categories within each factor.

“Thanks to the hard work of our partners in the public and private sector, Wisconsin is emerging as the leading state for veterans to start and grow their businesses,” said Saul Newton, president and chief executive officer of the Wisconsin Veterans Chamber of Commerce. “We know that when veterans succeed, Wisconsin succeeds. Attracting more veteran entrepreneurs to call Wisconsin home benefits everyone, and we’re proud to see that our state’s investment in veteran business owners is paying off.”

The Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis metro areas was ranked fourth overall for its livability. This is the area’s strongest category. The livability category includes having a relatively inexpensive cost of living, having an increased standard of living year-over-year, and having access to affordable and nearby childcare and school systems.

The report, while ranking Milwaukee among the top cities in the livability category for the second year, showed Milwaukee dropped four spots and Madison dropped nine spots compared to 2020’s overall rankings. However, Wisconsin was one of only four states in the country to have more than one city recognized. The 2020 report from PenFed also listed the Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis metro area as one of five emerging cities for veteran entrepreneurs.

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Ashley covers startups, technology and manufacturing for BizTimes. She was previously the managing editor of the News Graphic and Washington County Daily News. In past reporting roles, covering education at The Waukesha Freeman, she received several WNA awards. She is a UWM graduate. In her free time, Ashley enjoys watching independent films, tackling a new recipe in the kitchen and reading a good book.

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