Milwaukee ranks 33rd of 40 in Kauffman Index of Growth Entrepreneurship

Wisconsin ranks 23rd among 25 largest states

Last updated on July 2nd, 2019 at 09:04 pm

When it comes to entrepreneurship activity rankings, Milwaukee and Wisconsin continue to struggle.

The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation today released its annual Index of Growth Entrepreneurship and the Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis metropolitan area, as well as the state, again ranked poorly compared to their peers. The index uses Business Dynamics Statistics and Inc. 500/5000 data to measure the rate of startup growth, the share of scaleups and high-growth company density to rank regions and states.

The Milwaukee area was stacked up against the 40 largest metropolitan areas in the U.S. It ranked 33rd in growth entrepreneurship, or entrepreneurial business growth, down from 26th in 2016. Milwaukee was 39th in startup activity, or new venture creation, and 22nd in Main Street entrepreneurship, or established small business activity.

The report also measured Milwaukee’s rate of startup growth through 2014. Milwaukee’s rate of startup growth – the average growth in employment of the group five years after founding – was 33.2 percent in 2014, down significantly from 64.5 percent in 2013.

Milwaukee’s scaleups, or firms that grew to 50 people by their 10th anniversary, made up about 1.9 percent of all employer firms 10 years or younger from 2012 to 2014.

Kauffman also analyzed the region’s density of high-growth companies, or private firms with at least $2 million in annual revenue that achieve three years of annual revenue growth, normalized by total business population. Milwaukee had 62.8 high-growth companies per 100,000 employers in 2016, up from 48 in 2015, after falling from 92.3 in 2014.

Statewide, Wisconsin was ranked 23rd among the 25 “large” states in growth entrepreneurship, the same as its 2016 ranking. The greatest entrepreneurial growth activity in the large states was in Virginia, Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts and Texas.

In new startup creation, Wisconsin came in last place among the large states, also flat from last year.

In Main Street entrepreneurship, Wisconsin improved its ranking from third to second.

In 2013, Wisconsin’s rate of startup growth was at 53 percent, but in 2014, it fell to 50.8 percent.

Wisconsin’s scaleups made up about 1.4 percent of all employer firms 10 years or younger from 2012 to 2014.

Wisconsin’s high-growth company density was 39.9 high-growth firms per 100,000 employer businesses in 2016, up from 37.9 in 2015, after failling from 54.3 in 2014.

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Molly Dill, former BizTimes Milwaukee managing editor.

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