The Top 5 Places to Start a Small Business


Does your city have what it takes to be an incubator for small business start-ups? We’ve done the research to find the top five cities best for small businesses start-ups, taking into account taxes, projected population growth, and employment history.  If you live in one of these cities and are thinking of starting up a business, act now!

1. Austin, Texas

With a consistently growing population, and an unemployment rate 2% lower than the national average,Austintops our list of places to start a small business. The cost of living inAustinis below the national average and the city imposes no personal or corporate income tax.Texashas a state business franchise tax of 0.5 to 1.0%, with an exemption for revenues under $3000,000. Other state and local business taxes are lower than the national average as well. Plus, with several universities nearby, including theUniversityofTexas, and lots of recent graduates hoping to stay in the area, you’ll have your pick of young, innovative employees.

2. Madison, WI

Looking to enter the tech industry? Then a visit toMadisonshould be in order.Madison’s C.O.R.E (Connecting Opportunity Research Entrepreneurship) Jobs Act almost quadruples the amount of tax credits that are available to new tech start-ups. This Wisconsin-based industry employs more than 34,000 people and is the quickest growing segment of our economy. The city has also maintained an unemployment rate significantly less than the national average even through the recession (currently the unemployment rate is just 5.3% compared to a national unemployment rate of 8.7%). According to city-data.com, almost half the city’s population over the age of 25 holds a Bachelor’s degree, making it a great place to hire college-educated employees.

3. Raleigh, NC

This fast-growing city lies in the Research Triangle area (named for the 3 major research universities located nearby – Duke, UNC, and NC State).   The state ofNorth Carolinaprovides financial incentives for start-ups, including the Job Development Investment Grant, which offers grants to new businesses.Raleighalso has several grant, incentive, and loan programs. TheRaleighBusiness & TechnologyCenteris a haven for entrepreneurs and home to the Virtual Business Incubator, a 10-month program to assist with such things as business management, strategic planning and financial forecasting.

4. Denver, CO

In addition to its young business culture and fun atmosphere,Denveralso boasts annual population growth of 46,000. The city has an unemployment rate slightly below the national average, and simplified corporate income taxes in 2008. As an added incentive for new businesses,Denveroffers a tax credit for businesses that create at least 20 new jobs and pay above-average wages.Coloradoalso offers training and technology grants for small business start-ups.

5. Seattle, WA

Home to Microsoft and Starbucks, Seattle is the leading metro area in research and technology. The technology area is expected to grow about 1.4% annually over the next few years. LikeTexas,Washingtonhas no personal or corporate income tax and no state capital tax gains. The state offers a number of business tax incentives for biofuels, research/development, and international services.Seattlealso offers a tax credit and employee training programs for all businesses.

These cities offer programs and assistance for small business owners and boast consistent population growth, making them a great place to start your small business. Have you already opened a small business in one of our top five cities? Tell us how you’re doing and the features you like about your city in the comment area.

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