Are you searching for the best cities for job opportunities? Or have you decided to start your own business, and need an awesome startup location? Considering where to seek a new career, or to base your startup is important, as you’ll need the best people to help you get to where you want to be.
The easy answer may be LA or NYC. But what if you don’t want your new place of business to be in a big city where the quality of life and the population of a city may be in reverse proportion?
Is appreciating environmental beauty, gaining access to local culture, and becoming a patron of the arts an important factor to your startup’s location?
How about seeing a mountainscape over your morning cup of coffee? Or hearing the crashing of the surf when you go to sleep at night?
Where should you create a business in the friendly confines of a small city, while not lagging behind businesses in the more population-rich centers? We have some ideas for you.
Best Cities For Job Opportunities
Let’s establish our criteria and grading method, because small by itself, just is not good enough. First, access to sufficient resources (human, as well as financial) is one major factor.
There are highly-educated individuals from top colleges all over this great land. Not just in the major cities.
That’s good to know because the percentage of the workforce that is college educated is important to your decision. You want a deep candidate pool when it is time to hire.
Of course, the financial resource piece goes without saying. You need to know your new city’s financing options. So, a high percentage of college graduates living near your business center, as well as “ready money,” is factored into our scores.
Second, the city’s business environment is important to ascertain. How are business taxes structured? Is there diversity in when it comes to the industry in, or near, town?
- Are the businesses already there seeing sustained growth?
- How’s the commute?
- Does it attract the best minds?
- Does it repel them?
So, the business environment gets a score, as well.
Finally, you must pencil out the cost of doing business. Labor costs and corporate taxes are on your mind. So, there is our third and final category.
All of that said, are you ready for the seven best cities for business startups? We know you are. We crunched the numbers within our criteria list to find out where you should open that great new shop. All in all, we looked at over 200 cities before we chose. Beginning with lucky number twelve.
12. Bozeman, MT
Even though only 45,250 folks live in this lovely part of the Big Sky, those people are in a sweet spot for a startup. That surprised us a bit because Bozeman actually scores fairly low in the business environment category.
That’s due to persistent stagnant growth for the businesses already present.
Then why should Bozeman even get a sniff of the list? This town has superb access to business resources. Bozeman is home to the highly-regarded Montana State University, (Go Bobcats!) and Gallatin County has ample money available for a business loan.
11. Plano, Texas
Located twenty-five miles from Dallas and 55 miles from Oklahoma, lies Plano. It’s mostly in Collin County (even though Denton County, TX claims a little piece of the town.)
This medium-sized north-Texas city boasts 286,057 hardworking residents. The top jobs in Plano are found at Capital One, Ericsson Worldwide (communications tech), J.C. Penney, and Bank of America. Pepsico employs a significant number of Plano-ites, as well.
10. Overland Park, Kansas
O.P. is Kansas City, Missouri’s largest suburb (albeit located 15 miles away and in Kansas). With a growing population of 188,966 industrious folks, this serves as county seat for Johnson County, Kansas.
Top employers include Sprint, Black and Veatch (electrical engineering with a worldwide reach), Netsmart (health industry software and support), Intouch (pharmaceutical marketing), and MSTS (financial transaction processing). YRC Freight is a growing Overland Park company that hires a fair number of locals, as well.
9. Salt Lake City, Utah
They call it the Wasatch Range’s Queen City, and it third in the nation in job growth over the last three months. Be warned, Salt Lake City is smaller than you think it is. That doesn’t have to be a bad thing. S.L.C has a vibrancy and an upward mobility in its workforce that leaves room for entry-level positions.
Major Salt Lake City employers include the University of Utah, Intermountain Healthcare, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and C.R. England Trucking Co. Clearlink (tech and data sales) hires a fair number of people, as well.
8. Des Moines, Iowa
Number Four two years running in the United States for jobs, Des Moines has 215,472 residents. It’s a capital city, but government jobs aren’t very high on the list.
Top employers: Principal Financial, Hy Vee (chain grocery), Businessolver (human relations and benefits administration), and Meredith Corporation (social media marketing). Wellmark (health insurance) is another key employer in the Des Moines area.
7. Irvine, California
Tucked into the verdant perfume of Orange County, we find the City of Irvine. Its population of 266,122 makes Irvine a fertile job-hunting spot that can easily get lost in the L.A.-area.
Major employers based in Irvine include Network Funding (mortgage lending), the Unversity of California-Irvine, Broadcom (semiconductor manufacturing), and Blizzard Entertainment (online gaming, most known for World of Warcraft). Edwards Lifesciences (medical hardware and monitoring) is a prominent Irvine employer, as well.
6. Fort Myers, FL
Though one of the most-populous cities in the survey (pop. 77,146), Ft. Myers fits easily into Money Examiners’ definition of what makes up a small city.
We’re glad for that because the startup picture in this part of Florida is really good! Ft. Myers is one good example of a business environment that’s not great at any particular thing but is quite good at everything.
The business environment (particularly when it comes to established businesses and profit) is Fort Myers’ best feature. But there are no red flags in any of our categories.
5. Cheyenne, WY
Cheyenne is the first on our list that has the honor of being the clear champ in one of Money Examiners’ categories. Top-ranked for its business environment, Cheyenne’s business tax is among the lowest in the United States. Access to business funding, though, isn’t great.
That’s why this town that 64,119 call home isn’t on the gold medal podium. But, Cheyenne has a great deal to point to as a business destination.
4. Wilson, NC
Between the lovely Outer Banks, and the Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill Research Triangle find little Wilson. You’ll find 49, 620 people there ahead of you.
Business owners love this place for a low overall cost to do business, as well as its ready access to human resources. A surprising number of graduates from North Carolina, Duke, and North Carolina State wind up in Wilson.
3. Aberdeen, SD
The smallest place on this list makes the top three. That says a lot for this town of 28,415 souls bravely staving off South Dakota’s frigid winters.
What is it about Aberdeen? Super low business costs enable a business startup to get a head start, and access to financial resources is way above average.
2. St. George, UT
The largest city in Utah that isn’t in the shadow of Salt Lake City is St. George. In fact, it’s almost Arizona, as well as almost Nevada.
This place is practically heaven in its civic attitude toward business startups. That’s likely the reason why 82,318 folks are here doing commercial things. The business environment is top-shelf and the business cost categories are right there too.
1. Holland, MI
Contenders? We have listed a few, but there is just one winner. Holland, Michigan gets the garland around its neck.
Holland’s access to financial and human resources numbers, as well as its cost of doing business numbers, are among the top five in the entire 200+ city survey.
The 33,343 folks who live in Holland work, play and enjoy the local tulip shows. They also enjoy the across-the-board welcome the city offers new business startups. The business environment?
Check. The cost in Holland of doing business? Check. Easy access to resources?
Checkmate. All here for your new enterprise.
So, that’s our 12 cities to consider for your startup, or to find a great job. You really can’t go wrong with any of them if your plan is sound.
Sometimes, you just have to choose the town that speaks to you when you drive in.
Tell us about your job search in the comments!