Welcome to the Small Business Startup Wisconsin Franchise Directory! Here, you’ll find everything you need to begin your journey to business ownership in The Badger State. If you’re considering starting a small business in Wisconsin, read on for an overview of the state economy. Afterward, explore business opportunities and franchises for sale with our Wisconsin Franchise Search Tool.
Wisconsin Industry Trends
If an industry is performing well, business opportunities within it are often worth exploring. Begin your market research with this list of the Wisconsin economy’s most prominent industries in 2022. Afterward, take your research one step further by investigating niche markets and B2B opportunities within one of these top revenue-generating industries.
- Life Insurance & Annuities (Revenue: $72.8 billion)
- Property, Casualty & Direct Insurance (Revenue: $26.6 billion)
- Health & Medical Insurance ($26.4 billion)
- Hospitals ($22.7 billion)
- New Car Dealers ($22.2 billion)
- Dairy Product Production ($21.7 billion)
- E-Commerce & Online Auctions ($21.2 billion)
- Gas Stations with Convenience Stores ($19.4 billion)
- Automobile Wholesaling ($17.5 billion)
- Commercial Banking ($13.2 billion)
Wisconsin Sector Statistics
When starting a small business in Wisconsin, gross domestic product (GDP) is another tool entrepreneurs can use to make investment decisions. Generally, a steadily rising GDP means that people are spending more money and creating more jobs.
The three sectors contributing most to Wisconsin’s GDP in 2022 were Manufacturing; Real Estate, Rentals & Leasing; and Healthcare & Social Assistance. Combined, these three sectors represented 44.7% of the state’s GDP. In 2022, the sectors that contributed most to Wisconsin’s GDP included:
- Manufacturing (Value: $60.5 billion* | Annual growth: 3.5%)
- Real Estate, Rentals & Leasing (Value: $33.7 billion* | Annual growth: 0.2%)
- Healthcare & Social Assistance (Value: $27.8 billion* | Annual growth: 1.6%)
- Finance & Insurance (Value: $23.4 billion* | Annual growth: 1.2%)
- Wholesale Trade (Value: $18.4 billion* | Annual growth: 0.7%)
- Retail Trade (Value: $17.4 billion* | Annual growth: -0.7%)
- Professional, Scientific & Technical Services (Value: $16.1 billion* | Annual growth: 4.0%)
- Information (Value: $16.1 billion* | Annual growth: 6.0%)
- Management of Companies and Enterprises (Value: $11.1 billion* | Annual growth: 3.4%)
- Construction (Value: $10.7 billion* | Annual growth: 1.0 %)
- Transportation & Warehousing (Value: $8.6 billion* | Annual growth: 1.3%)
- Administration, Business Support & Waste Management Services (Value: $8.2 billion* | Annual growth: 4.8%)
- Accommodation & Food Services (Value: $6.2 billion* | Annual growth: 2.2%)
- Other Services (except Public Administration) (Value: $5.6 billion* | Annual growth: -1.7%)
- Utilities (Value: $4.1 billion* | Annual growth: -4.3%)
Wisconsin Population Statistics
A growing population often means greater demand and a steady flow of new customers. If you are undecided about the location of your new business, start by investigating population statistics. Afterward, take your research a step further by exploring population demographics. Doing so lets you decide whether a location is a good match for your target market.
In 2022, counties with the highest populations in Wisconsin included:
- Milwaukee (Population: 941,100 | Annual growth rate*: -0.2%)
- Dane (Population: 562,900 | Annual growth rate*: 0.9%)
- Waukesha (Population: 409,600 | Annual growth rate*: 0.4%)
- Brown (Population: 266,500 | Annual growth rate*: 0.4%)
- Racine (Population: 195,600 | Annual growth rate*: -0.1%)
- Outagamie (Population: 190,600 | Annual growth rate*: 0.5%)
- Winnebago (Population: 172,100 | Annual growth rate*: 0.1%)
- Kenosha (Population: 170,100 | Annual growth rate*: 0.1%)
- Rock (Population: 163,500 | Annual growth rate*: 0.1%)
- Washington (Population: 137,200 | Annual growth rate*:0.3%)
- Marathon (Population: 135,600 | Annual growth rate*: N/A)
- La Crosse (Population: 118,900 | Annual growth rate*: 0.2%)
- Sheboygan (Population: 115,300 | Annual growth rate*: N/A)
- Eau Claire (Population: 106,500 | Annual growth rate*: 0.6%)
- Walworth (Population: 104,400 | Annual growth rate*: 0.2%)
*From 2017 to 2022.
Wisconsin Business Opportunities
We hope this snapshot of the Wisconsin economy helps as you investigate business opportunities in The Badger State! Starting a small business in Wisconsin is an exciting journey, and we know you’re probably eager to get started. But remember, take your time to explore all your options. While you’ll always have the “opportunity” to start your own business, sometimes, it makes more sense to invest in an opportunity that already exists. These are called “Franchise Opportunities,” and they offer several benefits, including the recognition of a well-established brand and a proven track record of success.
To learn more, start by exploring franchise opportunities in Wisconsin below!