First Class Business

Actual Business Ideas


We identify business-friendly locations for you to start your next venture.

Need a change of scenery? There are plenty of communities in the U.S. that could be ripe to start a business in 2013—depending on your industry, desired skill base and other factors. 

Check out five locations sure to provide fertile ground for future entrepreneurism:

1. Silicon Valley

Despite California’s budget woes, Silicon Valley still dominates in its ability to attract venture capital, netting $ 2.6 billion in the third quarter of 2012. It does pay to be in certain industries—that money funded deals mostly in software, IT and biotech.

“The best cities that spawn entrepreneurship and new business typically are near a research university or a significant engineering school,” says Denise Beeson, a small business loan officer in Santa Rosa, Calif. In Silicon Valley, you get both.

RELATED: How to Start a Business in California

2. Raleigh, N.C.

With a population under 500,000, Raleigh attracts companies transferring from more expensive locales. Not only was it ranked the top city for business and careers by Forbes, thanks to being the fastest growing job market in the U.S.; it’s also the country’s fastest growing city, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
This is no flash in the pan. According to, Raleigh has experienced the third-highest job growth among U.S. cities over the past two decades. Added bonuses include safety, affordable housing and access to a much larger suburban population.

3. Madison, Wisc.

You may associate this university town with its livability and biotech or agriculture industries. But did you know Madison is also becoming a vibrant tech hub? Increasingly, the town is being associated with a new generation of emerging tech startups.

Fast Company recently commended Madison for legislation that targets investors and innovators that is aiming to produce the next generation of innovators. The legislation successfully amended a 25-percent tax credit to local angel investors so that the credit doesn’t have to be paid back if a startup fails or is acquired during the first three years of the investment. The criteria defining which companies and projects are eligible for the credit also became more lenient.

4. Austin, Texas

Many companies are tapping into Austin’s hip, artsy population—free of corporate income tax. This Lone Star city stands out for a couple of reasons: It consistently sits atop Forbes' annual list of the best cities for jobs, and is also the third-fastest-growing city in the U.S., according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

RELATED: How to Start a Business in Texas

5. Boulder, Colo.

In addition to highly educated, outdoorsy residents, Boulder draws more venture capital than cities many times its size, according to CNNMoney, which recently ranked this green tech hub among the country’s top cities for startups.

The main reason: Since launching in 2007, Boulder’s startup development program TechStars has helped dozens of startups reach $ 115 million in funding.

Could your city be next?

RELATED: 9 Tips for Starting a Business While You’re Still Employed

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