Getting Started

The top three U.S. cities to start a business

Written by Eric Titner

Attention entrepreneurs: We know that you’re eager to kickstart your business idea and build it into the next wildly successful corporate empire. After all, fortune favors the bold, and a commonly shared trait amongst successful entrepreneurs is an unwavering self-confidence at all costs and a capacity to handle risk.

However, that doesn’t mean you should blindly leap forward before carefully weighing all of the variables that typically make or break new startups—this includes where you decide to get started, which can be just as important as the how and why parts of the new business equation. 

It’s true—when it comes to starting, owning, and operating a business in America, all cities are not created equal. In addition to the obvious things like climate, location, and existing infrastructure in your specific industry, there are a host of key variables to consider when choosing which city is the ideal home for your burgeoning business.

Inc. recently ran an article on America’s top surge cities—cities whose high ratings in the following key metrics make them ideal places for starting a new business: job creation, population growth, net business creation, rate of entrepreneurship, wage growth, high-growth company density, and early-stage fundraising. 

Whether your goal is a modest one-person operation, the next international mega-corporation, or somewhere in-between, as you build your business plan and look to get your idea off the ground floor and up and running, you may discover that one of these cities is the perfect place to make your move.

Austin, TX

Referring to Austin as “the next Silicon Valley” is practically yesterday’s news, as notable tech superstars ranging from Google to Amazon and many others have already established a serious presence in this thriving and talent-rich city. As a result, Austin is experiencing an amazing explosion of business and population development and expansion—with no end in sight.

And it isn’t just tech-centric companies planting their flags in Austin. Companies across all industries are eager to set up shop in Austin and get in on the action. The city is abuzz with start-up money and public and private investment opportunities, which only adds to its current draw as the edgy alternative to San Francisco and New York City.

And if you’re thinking that Austin is all business, then think again—the city’s fun factor is practically off the charts, with a thriving music scene and nightlife, and bars and restaurants abounding to serve the needs of all the employees flocking to its borders. If you’re looking for a home for your business, Austin should definitely make your short list.

Salt Lake City, UT

If you’re wondering where the “next, next Silicon Valley” might be, then look no further than Salt Lake City. As San Francisco and Austin continue to evolve and everything from real estate to restaurants get more expensive, companies are giving Salt Lake City a closer look as an affordable alternative. Don’t take our word for it—companies like Electronic Arts, Adobe, and Oracle already have offices here, along with a wide range of other high-valued entrepreneurial startups. If you’re interested in getting in early on the next big thing, then setting up here just might be one of your first prophetic business moves.

Raleigh, NC

If you’re looking for a thriving and vibrant home for your new company that’s just a little further off the typical beaten path, consider this edgy corner of the southern Research Triangle.

More and more companies are looking at Raleigh and everything it has to offer—a young, well-educated, and talent-rich population of college graduates and seasoned workers, as well as a thriving cultural scene. Most importantly, investment money is following suit. The bottom line: Raleigh is a solid choice as a home for new businesses looking to get going and benefit from its favorable location.

If you’re an entrepreneur on the rise and are looking to find the home where to build your business, then consider the choices presented here when you’re making your decision. Good luck!

About the author

Eric Titner

Eric is a NYC-based editor and writer, with years of experience in career-focused content development across a wide range of industries.