Best Cities to Launch a Business (According to Fortune)

Which cities are the best for entrepreneurship?


Fortune Small Business has a new list of the best cities in which to launch a small business. Here's their ranking for metro areas with over 1 million in population:

  1. Oklahoma City, OK
  2. Pittsburgh, PA
  3. Raleigh, NC
  4. Houston, TX
  5. Hartford, CT
  6. Washington, DC
  7. Charlotte, NC
  8. Austin, TX
  9. New York City, NY
  10. Baltimore, MD
  11. In conjunction with the Kauffman Foundation, Fortune picked the cities by looking at a combination of factors—per capita income, GDP, rent, number of pre-existing small businesses, crime, number of foreclosures, tax climate, number of SBA lenders, etc. Then, they threw in some qualitative considerations: They interviewed hundreds of entrepreneurs about the business climates in their respective cities. That was a nice addition—each city is matched with an entrepreneur from that city who explains why his or her business has thrived here. It's great to have a face and concrete example to match to the counter-intuitive claim that Oklahoma City is a great city for life sciences.

    For a list with similar goals but different methodology, click here.

    Something interesting: For the list of "mid-size places" (population between 250,000 and 1 million), Huntsville, Ala., comes in at number one. Huntsville also was number one on Kiplinger's recent list of Best Cities for employment. All of this attention on Huntsville is likely a product of the recession: As a center for NASA, Huntsville has a recession-proof industry that makes its economy look better relative to cities more tied to the ebbs of the economy.