Top 10 US Cities To Start Your Business

by Mark Stephens
Top 10 US Cities To Start Your Business

Starting your own business can be a great idea if you know where to set it up. While it is true that most cities, big or small, across America are facing serious challenges, there is still hope to keep the American dream alive.

The Covid-19 pandemic, along with various other significant challenges such as economic stagnation, aging labor force, and increase in population, are issues that need to be taken into consideration before you decide to go all-out with your new business plan.

We have identified 10 hotspots across the country that support small businesses with an educated labor force, favorable tax system, and low cost of living with a good quality of life. Let us take a look at the top 10 US cities to start your business.

Atlanta, Georgia

Home to a huge number of Fortune 500 companies, Atlanta can be a great place to start a small business. While it is true that the unemployment rate in Atlanta is on par with the national average, the weekly salary is higher when compared to the rest of the country.

If you decide to start your business in Atlanta, you can expect a well-educated labor force. The cost of living in the city is also below the national average, which means you get a skilled workforce at a low cost. 

Atlanta is fast becoming the alternate choice for Hollywood movie makers because of the skilled crew and multiple production houses. So, if you are planning to start your film production company, Atlanta is where you should be.

Austin, Texas

No corporate taxes, a young labor force, and a vibrant work culture makes Austin one of the best cities in America to start a business venture. The small-business friendly city is also home to the University of Texas, which guarantees the availability of an educated and skilled workforce.

If you are planning a tech-related start-up then Austin is your best bet since technology is the focal point of small businesses in the city. Austin ranks fifth in the state as far as retaining tech talent is concerned. Due to all the tech hiring in the last few years, the city has seen a low unemployment rate.

Washington DC

Home to American politics, Washington is also known for its diverse labor force. A large percentage of the population has at least a bachelor’s degree making the city favorable for a start-up. Although the city can be challenging for a new business because of the tax climate, you can expect a large number of government agencies as your potential customers to give your business the push it requires.

Tourism is one of the leading sectors in the city, followed by growing industries such as finance, scientific research, education and public policy. Look no further than DC if you want to start a business in any of the said industries.

Provo, Utah

Provo is a hotspot for start-ups. One of the healthiest cities in America, Provo is also home to a vibrant start-up culture. There are various organizations in the city that help budding entrepreneurs and start-ups. These agencies help freelancers, entrepreneurs, investors, and industry leaders meet and collaborate.

Apart from the above, the city has a low cost of living when compared to the national average: the reason for a healthy start-up ecosystem in Provo.

A healthy start-up ecosystem is essential for a business to grow. I will talk about what makes a healthy start-up ecosystem in another blog.

Denver, Colorado

Located at the foot of the Rocky Mountains, Denver is known for the recreational use of marijuana. After the residents voted to legalize the use of cannabis in 2012, the city has seen significant growth in small businesses dealing in marijuana. People from all over the country are attracted to these small shops, especially millennials.    

The unemployment rate is much lower than the national average and so is the average salary of Denver.

Along with vibrant aerospace, Denver has a booming telecommunication and biotech industry. So, if you are looking to start a new business in any of the said fields along with an educated and skilled labor force, then Denver is where you should be.

Houston, Texas

Apart from a skilled workforce and thriving industries, what does a would-be business owner want the most? One word—affordability. A small business looking to grow first needs to locate a place, which is affordable followed by other important prerequisites. What separates Huston from other American cities is its affordability.

Houston has a large number of Fortune 500 companies along with the thriving gas and oil industries. Houston also overtook New York in 2013 as the top market for exports. So, if you are looking to start a business related to exports or manufacturing equipment for the oil and gas industries, you can head for Houston. 

Charlotte, North Carolina

The bank of America is headquartered in Charlotte, and Wells Fargo has a commanding position in the metropolis. While Charlotte boasts of its financial institutions, the city is also blessed with retailing and healthcare industries. Lowe’s, a home improvement company, is headquartered close to the city and is known for hiring locals.

The individual income-tax rate is 5.25 percent, and the average price of a home is $360K, making it more affordable than Miami or D.C. The mean salary is higher than the rest of the country, and the unemployment rate is below the national average.

So, if you are looking to start your business in a big city, Charlotte could be just the place for you.

Dallas, Texas

Plenty of businesses are either moving to Dallas or are being set up there. Dallas has a lot to offer if you are thinking of starting a small business. Apart from good salaries and affordable housing, Dallas is home to financial and tech industries. Fort Worth is rich in oil and gas and has a vibrant aviation industry.

The Dallas/Fort Worth International airport is one of the busiest airports in the world. DFW is well-managed, and the travelers are well taken care of.

There are no individual or corporate income taxes in Dallas, making it a favorite of venture capitalists. While Dallas does not levy the above-mentioned taxes, it does impose a margins tax on businesses.

Richmond, Virginia

Richmond provides a favorable environment for startups and small businesses. An entrepreneur set to conquer the world will find every tool necessary to grow and shape his business in the city.

Richmond has affordable housing, an educated workforce, government agencies as potential customers, and a great outdoor lifestyle: everything an entrepreneur would desire.

The Port of Richmond and the Port of Virginia can provide a significant logistical advantage. The business-friendly city has a tax system that allows tax abatements and tax credits.

The unemployment rate is well below the national average because of the business-friendly structure of the city.

 If you are looking for a city that can provide you with all the necessary tools and policies to start and grow your business, look no further than Richmond.

Las Vegas, Nevada

Las Vegas was badly hit during the Great Recession; however, the city recovered in the aftermath of the global turmoil. 13 years on, the Covid-19 pandemic forced businesses around the city to close. Despite the odds, Las Vegas continues to grow. An article in the Las Vegas Review-Journal mentions:

“Las Vegas is recovering much faster than expected, and it’s incredibly exciting to witness,’ said Callie Driehorst, manager of corporate media relations. ‘It’s thrilling for us to be bringing employees back and hiring new team members at a pace and scale unlike anything our company or community has seen before.

Among the most tax-friendly cities in America, Las Vegas is also the breeding ground for new businesses. Income is lower than the national average, which means you can hire labor for cheap.

Those were the top 10 cities to start a business identified by our team; however, this is not a definitive list because there is always room for improvement. Let us know in the comments section if you have identified an American city that promotes and supports new businesses.

Bonus: The 5 Best Cities In The World That Support Start-Ups

The world is changing at a rapid pace. Businesses around the world are evolving and adapting to new technologies and trends. Some cities have even created a business-friendly environment from which startups and entrepreneurs can benefit. Our team has identified five such global hotspots where you can successfully start your business.

1. Melbourne, Australia

Australia is fast becoming the global hotspot for startups. Cities like Melbourne and Sydney provide entrepreneurs with the tools necessary for growing their businesses. Known for hosting international events, Melbourne is home to more than 250 startups.  The city has also seen an investment of over $2 billion on new businesses. So, if your business is all about AI, machine learning, and blockchain, Melbourne is your city.

2. Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo boasts of having 51 Global 500 companies. One of the leading international financial hubs, Tokyo is blessed with an infrastructure conducive to starting a new business. In 2019, the Tokyo Stock Exchange listed over 200 companies, encouraging entrepreneurs to start a new venture.

While it is tempting to start your own business, investing in the wrong branding strategy can ruin your startup dreams.

3. Dubai, UAE

UAE, for long, relied predominantly on oil; however, everything for the oil-rich nation changed from the 1970s. Dubai, which started as a small fishing village, is the leader in the trading hub today.

The Covid pandemic has hit the world hard, but nothing has changed for Dubai. An article in the  Arabian Business

 mentions: “Dubai is expected to attract up to 200 more startups this year, more than the city has seen set up shop in the last three years, Mohammed Alblooshi, sector head fintech and innovation at the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), said in a panel discussion.”

4. Berlin, Germany

Recognized internationally as a startup hub, Berlin provides ideal conditions for new businesses to flourish. With nearly 500 tech startups being founded every year, Berlin is fast becoming the tech hub of the world. 

5. Singapore

The Singapore government is known for implementing friendly policies that attract a large number of young entrepreneurs trying to start a new business. According to the Economic Development Board of the Government of Singapore, “80 of the 100 leading technology companies in the world operate in Singapore.” The city-state is also the tech hub of Asia. So, look no further than Singapore if you want to start a tech-related business.

As an entrepreneur, you need to weigh the pros and cons of the city where you intend to start your business. Your decision should be based on whether the city supports your industry category, followed by the workforce, cost of living, logistics, tax policies, and other economic structures. Let me repeat what I said at the beginning of this blog; starting your business can be a great idea if you know where to set it up.

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