When you think of the next big startup, chances are you’re thinking of someplace that formed in Silicon Valley or some other tech startup hub. In reality, many of the people and companies you think of when you think of successful startups came out of the Midwest or elsewhere. While larger tech-oriented cities certainly do incubate their fair share of tech startups, it’s not a requirement for building a successful business.
Twitter and Square co-founder Jack Dorsey is a prime example of this. Hailing from St. Louis, Missouri, this tech startup founder was compelled to remove his nose ring after Twitter’s launch in order to look more mature. Jeff Bezos is a household name these days after founding Amazon, and his career began in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Google cofounder Larry Page is from Lansing, Michigan.
So what should you look for when trying to decide on a place to start a business? Survivability should be at the top of your list- look for a place where most startups survive. Business Productivity is also very important- wherever you start your business should have a high GDP per capita. The economic foundation should be favorable to small businesses tax-wise, there should be a high rate of startups, and small business loans should be readily available.
There are some surprising places that meet these criteria. Six out of 10 of the best places to start a business are located in the Western United States. California is certainly on the list as well as Washington and Oregon. But would it surprise you to learn Wyoming is the #2 best state in which to start a business? This is thanks to the most favorable tax climate score of any state as well as a fairly high GDP per capita. Colorado also makes the list thanks to a high rate of small business loans and a high rate of startup survival.
Some of the specific cities that make the list are also pretty surprising. Would you ever think to start a business in Minneapolis, Minnesota or Madison Wisconsin? What about Fargo, North Dakota? These firmly midwestern cities are actually some of the best places to start a business. San Francisco, California and Austin, Texas certainly make the list, but they all don’t have to be stereotypical startup hubs in order to incubate a new business. Boston is great, but Midland, Texas is nice too!
No matter where you choose to start your business, if you have a good idea or product that will help people or serve a particular need, your business is likely to do well with hard work and determination. Sure, it helps to have a climate that is favorable to business if you want to succeed, but plenty of people make it every day without that climate. Learn more about where famous entrepreneurs got their starts as well as some of the best places to start a business from this infographic. Is there anything on this list that surprises you? Leave a comment below!