6 Friendly Cities for Entrepreneurs
Trying to make a go of it on your own? Here are six cities that may give you slightly better than average odds if you are looking to start a business. While in general it is far more important that you have a good business idea and plan than a good location, in this case the grass may really be greener somewhere else.
1. Portland, Oregon
While Oregon has the highest income-tax rate in the United States, it’s largest city is particularly friendly to small business startups. There are large numbers of young, artsy-hippie types here, and the city is very friendly to those who are trying to make a go of it on their own and find a way to live “without working for the man.”
It is possible to start a business that caters to the young, counter-culture crowd by doing just about anything, from selling T-shirts, to opening a yoga studio to showing off your spoon-art collection in the Saturday Market. People here are very open-minded and just about everyone has a business idea. At the very least, you’ll find quite a few like-minded, intelligent people who are willing to try just about anything.
If you are into the food industry, Portland leads the world in environmentally-friendly and organically grown food. It would be easy to break into one of the farmer’s markets here and sell your new “natural concoction.”
2. Las Vegas, Nevada
Vegas was a proverbial desert wasteland with nothing and a cactus only 50 years ago. Today it is one of the largest entertainment explosions in the world, and in a sense almost become it’s own punchline. The opportunities for business in this fast-growing gambler’s paradise are endless, especially if you are in the hospitality industry.
While working with the casinos in any capacity really require one to know what he/she is doing, there are opportunities to open restaurants, boutiques, and even sell travel packages to the vacation-happy crowd. Vegas also leads the world in weddings and divorces. This is another hotbed of business possibilities.
The only question is whether living (and doing business) in Vegas will tempt you beyond your business into a lifestyle of hedonism yourself!
3. Austin, Texas
Austin is full of life, and another city that is on the rise. The economy hasn’t been hit quite as hard in some southern cities, and Austin has fared better than many others. While competing for jobs with many recent college grads in this young persons’ paradise might be a bit of a challenge, running a business here would be delightful.
The “live music capital of the world” has many opportunities for people into the music scene. If you want a place to promote your new sound, or you are looking to pick up talent, you might do better finding it here than in LA!
And, as always, there are plenty of up and coming areas of town with potential for new businesses, like the south Congress area and between 4th and 6th streets downtown. Don’t like winter? The average high temp here in January is over 60 degrees!
4. Denver, Colorado
Denver has a lot of different types of opportunities. One thing Colorado does not lack is mountains. And where there are mountains, there is snow. And where there is snow, there are skiers. And snowboarders. If you could find a way to make it work, you could head off to Vail or other fun mountain town where a lot of people come for the winter sports, perhaps supplying equipment for ski resorts, or even having a little snack-shop in a warming-hut in the mountains.
If snow isn’t your thing, the city of Denver, and the surrounding front range cities of Colorado Springs, Boulder and Fort Collins are full of young people, schools, and a lot of culture. You could also take business courses at the Bard Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Colorado in Denver, or other schools in the area. The opportunities in Colorado are limitless.
5. Anchorage, Alaska
Surprised to find Anchorage on this list? It’s because of the people. Alaskans are hardy folks. Most of the time, they are happy to be left alone by the rest of the United States, feeling like they can fend for themselves. No state has a friendlier tax system in the US than Alaska, which actually pays it’s citizens to live there!
Business owners are plentiful here. If you are good at cleaning yards (and are not afraid of the occasional grizzly encounter) or fixing frozen plumbing, you could do well here. There are also opportunities in tourism, as people from all over visit beautiful Denali and other state parks in the summer. If you have a good business idea and love the wilderness, you could find yourself very happy in the frozen north.
Just bring a jacket.
6. Tampa, Florida
If a warm climate in a city with a lot of tourism and housing opportunities are what you are looking for, Tampa might be the place for you. While it doesn’t get the press and attention that Miami or even Orlando receive, there are many opportunities in this large, coastal city. There is a large influx of money to Tampa-St.Pete through tourism and a lot of wealthy people live here.
It might be a great place to start an in-home physical therapy/acupuncture/other holistic business as a lot of families down here do have money, though you’ll have to know where to look. The real-estate market here went through a definite slump in recent years, but the city has invested in/refinanced a lot of new projects, so there are signs this could be close to improving.
There are many schools down here as well, including the University of Tampa’s business program. If you feel the need to go to school to get started, you could have an opportunity here.
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