2016 Best Cities for Entrepreneurs

What makes a city a great place for entrepreneurs? To be way too broad: A lot of things. And a lot of different things than we normally look at when deciding our top 10s and top 100s. We know that you can never totally separate a place into where you live and work, but usually our rankings tilt toward the quality-of-life side of things.

When Entrepreneur magazine came to us, asking if we could assist them in finding the 50 Best Cities for Entrepreneurs, we consulted our friends at our economic development team at Livability.We talked about how great places to live attract great people and attract the businesses that want to hire them. All of these things are inarguably related. We dipped into our database and pulled out both economic indicators and quality of life indicators to create a ranking of great places to start a business -- in places workers will want to live.

We analyzed 17 economic indicators for more than 2,200 cities with populations greater than 20,000. These included: the growth in businesses and employees from 2011-2015; the city's unemployment rate; the number of venture capital deals in the past 10 years; the city's business tax rate; how much funding business owners received from SBA and 7(a) loans; the percentage of college-educated locals; the accessibility to high-speed broadband; projected household income growth between 2015-2020; and how much money residents spend within their community, as opposed to outside of it.

Of course, we also included our LivScore (which measures livability, see the full methodology for each city). That score is the distillation of 45 factors including further economic measures as well as amenities, demographics, infrastructure and more. Together this becomes more than just a business list. It factors in both sides of the coin. These are 50 great cities to start a business, and to live in while it grows and thrives.

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CLICK ON THE PHOTOS BELOW TO READ MORE ABOUT WHY THE CITY MADE THE LIST 

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LIV SCORE
674

In collaboration with Entrepreneur magazine, we examine the best places in America for starting a business

1
Boulder, CO
Population: 103,919
2
Austin, TX
Population: 887,061
3
Provo, UT
Population: 115,345
4
Charlottesville, VA
Population: 45,084
5
Chapel Hill, NC
Population: 58,766
6
Ann Arbor, MI
Population: 116,194
7
Fargo, ND
Population: 113,464
8
Columbia, MO
Population: 115,391
9
Fredericksburg, VA
Population: 27,395
10
State College, PA
Population: 42,129
11
Decatur, GA
Population: 20,605
12
Salt Lake City, UT
Population: 190,679
13
Minneapolis, MN
Population: 399,950
14
Alexandria, VA
Population: 149,315
15
Orlando, FL
Population: 256,738
16
Silver Spring, MD
Population: 77,460
17
Columbus, OH
Population: 824,663

Best places to live partners

Best places to live ranking