You might joke that entrepreneurs tend to live at their businesses. The level of dedication – regardless of business sector – required for a successful new venture usually means some long hours at the office. Of course even the most stalwart starter-uppers head home at some point. But where should that home be?
It was a question posed to us by our friends at Entrepreneur as we started gathering data for our second annual list. What would make a city a great home for an entrepreneur?
Starting with a universe of more than 2,000 small- to mid-sized cities, we narrowed our field to the Top 50 Best Cities for Entrepreneurs. We consulted with our economic development experts at Livability to select just the right indicators for a city that is both a great place to work and to live. First, it had to be a good city to start a business – one that supports startups and has a community of similarly-driven people. We looked for cities with high levels of SBA loans, creative class workers, broadband technology and transportation infrastructure to support new businesses. To grow the business you need talent, so we analyzed cities that had low levels of unemployment and economic inequality, diverse demographics and affordable housing. Areas with plenty to do at night with cultural and entertainment options scored well too. Finally, we added in a variety of quality-of-life indicators about crime, schools, health care and commute time.
We ranked the cities based on these 15 data points and used that as a short list. From there, our editors selected the top 50 from that group to ensure we had a good mix of cities in terms of size and geography. The final Top 50 Best Cities for Entrepreneurs are therefore a collection of cities that are ideal crucibles for a new business venture to start and thrive and for entrepreneurs to settle in, put down some roots and maybe even grow a family.