Economy and Business Landscape

From meat packing plants over department stores to an aircraft manufacturer and a company that built windmills with the ability to charge batteries – in terms of businesses, Sioux City has virtually seen it all.

Along with the businesses have come and gone a variety of industries. As a city with a  bustling livestock market and as a popular location for factories, Sioux City historically was more industrialized than it is today and had a strong focus on blue-collar work. 

In recent decades, it has continuously developed towards more diverse work opportunities and has become a starting ground for small businesses and modern industries such as technology and internet-based services.

Todd Rausch, director of the Small Business Development Center at Western Iowa Tech, thinks Sioux City today is “a great place to open a business and grow it.” He said, “We’ve helped 150 startups in the last ten years, and more than 250 businesses expand. So, the environment is very good, as far as business goes.”

What makes the business environment in Sioux City favorable is the community support and networking opportunities that are available for start-ups and established businesses alike.

Beth Trejo, owner of social media agency Chatterkick, said she received so much support when she first opened her business in 2016.

“So many people in this community helped me get customers, whether that was from their own businesses or connecting me to another business,” Trejo said and added, “The network that happens and the connectivity of the individuals in Sioux City was extremely strong, and definitely made my business move a lot faster than I could have done on my own.”

As arguably anywhere else in the US, modern technology, the internet, and social media have led to the biggest changes in business. According to Rausch, most businesses today try to have an online presence to at least let customers know where they are at and what they offer.

With its modern services of building websites and managing social media accounts, Chatterkick tapped into exactly that trend and as a result filled somewhat of a void in Sioux City. In the beginning, Trejo thought it would be challenging to find businesses to sell Chatterkick’s services to, but it was the opposite.

“There was a big need for our services and businesses needed the support,” she said. What turned out to be more challenging was balancing delivering a great service with continuing to grow her business and finding new businesses to sell to.

Currently, both Trejo and Rausch see a lot of potential in entrepreneurship in the city. Rausch said, “A group of young entrepreneurs are starting businesses downtown and they’re bringing people back to downtown. I think that’s absolutely wonderful.”

Trejo, too, is impressed with the level of entrepreneurship developing in the region but still sees room for improvement. She thinks there currently is a lot of opportunity to better bring together members of the newcomer business community and enable them to be even better connected in Sioux City’s business environment.

By Emily Rotthaler

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