What are the best American cities to start a business?

 According to a recent report by the financial business publication Kiplinger, it’s a diverse group of urban areas that have fared relatively well in the recent recession by building their business infrastructure and taking steps to attract scalable, high-paying jobs.

Here’s the list and the reasons why each is a great city to start a business — and it just so happens that FranNet has consultants in all of them. (Kiplinger didn’t rank the cities.)

  • Houston: “Entrepreneurs benefit from low living costs, no state personal income tax and a franchise tax capped at 0.575% for businesses with less than $10 million in annual revenue.”  The report further cited “high-powered incubators such as the Houston Tech Center, the Rice Alliance and Capital Factory funnel money and mentorship to promising start-ups.”
  • Indianapolis: “Cheap housing and office space, a low cost of living, and an excess of young talent from half a dozen universities feed the city’s start-up community.” The report further cited “nearly a dozen start-up incubators and a laundry list of venture capitalists, including big-time angel investors like Gravity Ventures and Halo Capital.”
  • Minneapolis: “More than 70 companies launch in Minneapolis every week — a result, perhaps, of the city’s low business taxes, multiple incentive and mentorship programs, and highly educated workforce.” The report further notes the city “saw its first coworking space open in July, and a year-old tech accelerator called Project Skyway has already funded more than a dozen startups in the region.”
  • Oklahoma City: “Oklahoma City entrepreneurs have two big advantages over business owners elsewhere: Midwestern startup costs are low, and government support for business is strong.” The report further says, “Oklahoma City has also partnered with i2E, an incubation nonprofit, to launch an entrepreneurial development center; investors contributed some $35 million to i2E companies in 2011.”
  • Raleigh, N.C.: “Raleigh recently announced a city-sponsored summit for entrepreneurs, as well as an ‘innovation and entrepreneurial center’ for use by start-ups.” The report further cited Raleigh’s “four incubators and one of the Southeast’s largest venture-capital firms.”
  • St. Louis: “St. Louis is a small pond compared with other places on our list, but the city gives local start-ups enough tax breaks and incentive programs to make it big,” the report says. “Government agencies such as the St. Louis Development Corporation supply low-interest loans to small businesses and subsidize co-working spaces.”
  • San Francisco: “San Francisco attracts entrepreneurs for two reasons: unrivaled access to venture capital and a legion of creative, like-minded people.” The report further cites San Francisco’s “dozens of start-up incubators, which provide office space, mentoring and seed capital to everyone from Internet tycoons to fashion designers to aspiring food-truck owners.”
  • Seattle: “Seattle is better known for major tech operations than for scrappy, small-time start-ups. But the city’s tech monoliths provide big opportunities for entrepreneurs.” The report further cites Seattle’s “own branch of TechStars, the nationally prominent and highly moneyed accelerator, as well as eight coworking spaces and near-daily networking events.”
  • Tampa: “Tampa promises more than nice beaches and a low cost of living. The Gulf Coast hot spot is also home to a nascent start-up scene. Local government is particularly business-friendly, promising tax credits to businesses that locate in certain areas or work in one of a number of high-demand industries.” The report further cited Tampa as “a key player in the Startup America Partnership, a national initiative that has funneled more than $730 million to new businesses in Florida and six other states.”
  • Washington, D.C.: “Job seekers often associate the District with government work, but the capital’s educated workforce and deep-pocketed investors make it an attractive option for entrepreneurs as well.” The report further cited “a $450 million fund to support new D.C.-based businesses” by AOL founders in late 2011.


If you’re in one of these cities and think you want to join the thousands who have used us with great success to find professional fulfillment through franchise ownership, find your local FranNet consultant at www.frannet.com/directory!


About the Author: Jania Bailey is President and COO of FranNet (www.frannet.com) and author of “Thriving – The Journey to Success in the Business World.”  FranNet is North America’s most respected leader in matching individuals with franchise opportunities. Based in Louisville, Ky., FranNet has more than 80 consultants across North America who use a proprietary profiling and consultative process to determine a business model unique to each client’s goals, skill sets and interests, and have matched thousands of entrepreneurs to rewarding small business opportunities.  Recognized by INC magazine as one of the top 500 fastest growing private companies in America in 2011 and 2010, this year marks the 25th anniversary for FranNet.



Jenni Proctor

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