The COVID-19 pandemic drove many entrepreneurs, business owners, and remote workers out of the US’s largest cities. Many took this as an opportunity to consider their personal situations, which resulted in millions of Americans relocating during the pandemic in search of more affordable housing and more space. Online mover marketplace HireAHelper found that people were leaving large cities like New York City, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Washington D.C. in favor of cities where they could have a better quality of life. This holds all the more true for tech professionals.
So, if you’re an entrepreneur based in the US, and you’re looking for somewhere to relocate, we’ve got you covered. We looked at some of the top cities across the country, including entrepreneurial hotspots and tech hubs so you can make the right choice about where to move and become the fastest-growing business there. Check out this definitive list of the 10 best U.S. cities for new businesses and entrepreneurship to live and thrive in across the United States.
Long considered “one of the best-kept secrets in tech”, there’s nothing hush-hush about Atlanta’s vibrant tech ecosystem and billion-dollar startups anymore. Venture capital investments in the city boomed over the last 5 years, with lots of entrepreneurs coming out of institutions like Georgia Tech. It’s a very business-friendly city and is the 10th largest economy in the United States. There are many multinational companies based in ATL, including Coca-Cola, GE, and Microsoft, to name a few. Businesses are moving to this Southeastern city because it affords you to cut costs without sacrificing a big city or international connectivity. Talk about having it all!
A fan-favorite among the tech crowd, Austin actually outranks the San Francisco Bay Area as the best city for high-tech startups in the US. Its excellent restaurants, vibrant nightlife, mountain scenery, and availability of cultural activities set it up as a great place to live and work. For small business owners, in particular, the city is known for above-average startup success rates and crowdfunding campaigns. The city’s size and appeal to millennials also give employers a broad talent pool to choose from and the fact that Texas doesn’t allow personal income taxes is very attractive to many. Even Apple couldn't resist and opened offices there!
For those of you hoping to grow their existing businesses, Boston is a great solution. The 10th biggest urban area in the United States, you’ll have plenty of fish to pick from in the talent pool. Boston real estate for companies is fairly priced, and finding a quality apartment to rent (whether furnished or unfurnished) is actually quite easy. Even though it is rather populous, it’s still small enough for you to move around, get to know your community, and not have to worry about commuting for a long time. Massachusetts is also home to some of the country’s best universities, meaning that you’ll have access to some of the brightest minds in the US.
According to data from Crunchbase, the highest rate of venture capital investment in 2018 was made into Colorado-based startups over the last 5 years. Affordability, a broad talent pool, and the State’s natural beauty are all factors that draw in out-of-state moves. Entrepreneurs looking to move to Denver do so for its quality of life, a less competitive job market, and lower-cost living. The Mile High City (you can definitely have some fun with calling it that) is also particularly attractive to early-phase businesses thanks to its ecosystem of entrepreneurs, budding creatives, and diversity of businesses both in size and specialty.
Las Vegas, Nevada
Nevada is known to be one of the country’s most business-friendly states, with no business income tax and no personal tax. Incorporating a business in Nevada is relatively cheap in comparison to other states thanks to these low tax rates, and the law is known to support local businesses so they can thrive. Not to mention that you would be living in one of the entertainment capitals of the world! With a warm climate year-round, glitzy hotels, and more casinos than you can count, Las Vegas has maintained a certain allure for Americans for a very long time.
Miami is a renowned creative hub with easy access to Latin America. Entrepreneurs and small business owners looking to build a business connection with the region would do well to set up shop in Miami. Lower taxation than in New York or San Francisco brought numerous hedge funds and investors down to this sunny startup hub. Tech companies, finance startups, and co-working spaces abound, but so do the more creative industries with the launch of Miami’s glamorous design district. The warm weather, multicultural environment, and inclusive atmosphere are just a few of the reasons why US entrepreneurs are drawn to this southern city.
If you’re looking to burst onto the healthcare scene, Nashville could be the place for you. With 6 of the country’s 10 for-profit hospital chains based in Nashville and over 800 healthcare startups, Nashville is setting itself up as a force to be reckoned with in the industry. There are countless state-wide entrepreneurial resources available to business owners in the startup scene, like the Nashville Entrepreneur Center. The city boasts plenty of room for both families and businesses to grow, with real estate opportunities abounding across the city. It’s a great place to move because of its unique music scene, its strong creative community, opportunities for higher education, and competitive cost of living.
Known for its hipster cafes and lauded restaurants, Portland has been drawing in “alternative” crowds in recent years. But did you know that it’s also got amongst the lowest costs for startups to get themselves off the ground in the country? The city's startup ecosystem is among the top 2 choices for unicorn tech startups in the US because of its economic office rentals, investment incubators, and reasonable cost-quality of life ratio. The city’s job growth is outpacing the rest of the country at 2% compared to the national average of 1.6%. Not to mention that Portland organizes numerous events and resources to support early-phase businesses.
Raleigh, North Carolina
Home to nationally renowned universities, Raleigh has always had a certain appeal to youngsters. The city’s quality of life, diversity, and culture all make it a very attractive place for entrepreneurs to move and start a business. The city offers many grants and business support programs to help you turn your business idea into more than that. Particularly good for small businesses, North Carolina’s tourism, hospitality, and retail industries have been growing steadily since 2018. It’s a great place to go if you’re looking for affordability, a good quality of life, and an outstanding business environment.
Salt Lake City, Utah
Salt Lake City, or SLC, is home to seedling companies, mid-sized businesses, and large enterprises. Although relatively small in population (but with a metropolitan area of 1.2 million), Salt Lake City is bustling with a young and highly educated workforce. Approximately 45.1% of SLC’s young professionals aged 25-34 have a Bachelor’s degree or higher, making it the perfect place to scour for new talent. It’s also a great place to do business, competing with Silicon Valley as a great place to launch a startup. The city is also growing as a cybersecurity hub and appeals to many professionals from across the country because of its incredible location close to the red rock deserts and numerous national parks. If you're looking for low-cost living in a beautiful place, this is it.
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