As of 2018, the Global Entrepreneurship and Development Index (GEDI) ranked the United States as the number one country for entrepreneurs. It bested 136 other countries with its entrepreneur-friendly environment. To make it to this list, an entrepreneurial ecosystem must be in place. It should uphold favorable business attitudes, ample resources, as well as the right infrastructure. Entrepreneurial success depends on a lot of external factors. The location of a business plays a vital role in its success. Knowing which best cities to start a business gives an entrepreneur that much-needed head start.
Location, Location! It’s All about the Location
Silicon Valley and New York are obvious choices for both innovative startups and established companies. However, as both mentioned cities have become congested, business costs have gone exponentially high. For an upstart company, the high cost of doing business is a huge deal breaker. With newly-built companies looking for more cost-effective options, major business cities in the USA are stepping up to create the next startup hub.
But what makes a great startup city? What will it take to make it to the list of best cities to start a business? Experts offer their perspective on what makes a great startup city, and they all agree on four things – the presence of a supportive business environment; a robust entrepreneurial infrastructure; access to quality resources; and low cost of doing business. With major business cities in the USA working on meeting these four requirements, we see a surge of new best cities to start a business.
Major Business Cities in the USA Teeming with Options
10 Best Cities to Start a Business
- Austin is fast becoming a startup hub as companies such as Revealix, RocketDollar, and JuiceBox Hero choose it as their home. Similarly, tech giants Facebook, Amazon, Apple, and Google are also establishing a stronger presence in Austin. With a government-backed business support system, Austin’s strong tech foundations, population diversity, and cultural openness – it’s no surprise that companies are flocking to Austin’s “Silicon Hills.”
- Orlando is seeing an increase in companies wanting to plant their stakes in the “Sunshine State” of Florida. Years of hard work and a consolidated effort from home-grown entrepreneurs and local government are coming to fruition as a thriving tech and startup hub emerges in Orlando, Florida. There’s more to Orlando than theme parks, tourism, and being a good place for retirement. The city houses the country’s largest university; doing business is relatively affordable; the presence of a thriving startup and tech community; and there is access to capital. Indeed, Orlando has got what it takes to be one of the best cities to start a business.
- Raleigh in North Carolina makes it to the list of best cities to start a business. The city is known for its strong research and innovation foundation. Entrepreneurs can tap on Raleigh’s deep talent pool from the nearby universities – NC State University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Duke University – which make up the three points of Research Triangle Park. Honeywell, Burt’s Bees, and Bank of America are some of the notable companies with headquarters in Raleigh.
- Denver’s rapid population growth has been attracting the country’s best and brightest talents. Affordable housing and lower cost of living plus the breathtaking outdoors are major attraction points. Inherently, a growing population results in more economic and financial activities. With the influx of talents, companies quickly respond to the trend. Industries like construction, trading and information technology are moving to Denver, making it as one of the up and coming major business cities in the USA.
- Nashville’s biggest industries are healthcare and higher education, which contributes to the growth and development of the city. Proof to that is the 300+ healthcare companies based in Nashville and more than 20 colleges and universities. Similarly, startups are like Scorebird, Artiphon, and Everly found a home in Nashville. With a booming economy and growing population, Nashville has been recognized as one of the best cities to start a business.
- Portland is an ideal location for startups looking for a bit of financial headroom. The city has no state and local sales tax. Also, the city has a mechanism that helps businesses get alternative ways for funding. Major tech companies such as Google, Hewlett-Packard, and Salesforce has set up shop in Portland. Same goes with startups like Digital Trends and Cloudability.
- Atlanta is fast becoming the “Hotlanta” of startups. With the emergence of a host of innovation hubs and tech communities such as Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC), Atlanta Tech Park, Atlanta Tech Village, Big, Center for Civic Innovation, and Tech Alpharetta – Atlanta joins the roster of best cities to start a business.
- Charlotte is another city from North Carolina that has been creating a buzz as one of the next major business cities in the USA. Particularly, Charlotte is an ideal city for small businesses which can be credited to the city’s reasonable living cost. Similarly, Charlotte’s proximity to the Research Triangle Park makes the city a hotbed for talent. Red Ventures, SmartSky Networks, and Tresata are some of the startups, making it big in Charlotte’s tech startup scene.
- Oklahoma City has been working hard to make it in the list of best cities to start a business. The city is doing this by building a robust research community focused on life science. The expertise gained from the community yields a highly-capable pool of talent. Moreover, millennials are flocking in, drawn by the city’s vibrant culture and community. For both established and startup companies, the availability of talents is very attractive.
- Salt Lake City, dubbed “The Silicon Slopes” has been long pitted against Silicon Valley as the next tech startup hub. To date, the city has produced 348 startups, hosted 1,015 startup events, raised $103,900,000 total funding for the last 12 months. In truth, Salt Lake City is just focused on creating a vibrant tech community where businesses and people can feel accepted. The accolades just come second.
Sure, building and launching the business in Silicon Valley or New York is the dream. While a pilgrimage to these startup meccas is noteworthy, it may not be sustainable. When it comes to expenses, bootstrapping startups can use all the help it can get. Setting up shop in one of the listed cities can help extend the startup runway until the company takes off and starts earning. With a growing number of cities supporting new business, there is a host of options available for entrepreneurs.