Recently Under30CEO ran a poll to find out what the best cities in the United States were for young entrepreneurs. The poll asked the Under30CEO readers to place their vote or submit the city of their choice if it wasn’t listed. We asked everyone to not only think about the business climate and resources but to also consider the social scene and even weather. Young entrepreneurs want to run a successful business but they also take into consideration their lifestyle and where they can find both personal and business happiness. The results are below for the top cities for young entrepreneurs in 2011.
1. New Orleans
New Orleans tops the list with a surge in entrepreneurial activity in recent years. The city has seen numerous incubators and events catered to assisting entrepreneurs come to town which has boosted the resources the city has available. It’s also well known that New Orleans has an amazing, vibrant and inspiring culture that attracts the creative entrepreneur types. But the main driver for young entrepreneurs may really be that for all of this the cost of living in the city is extremely low especially when compared to places like New York, Boston or Chicago.
2. Kansas City
Did you know there was a Silicon Prairie? Well maybe not but Kansas City is at the heart of entrepreneurship in the Midwest. The fact it came in at #2 on the list shows how passionate the community is about being recognized as an up and coming town for entrepreneurship. The city is the headquarters of many major companies like Sprint, H&R Block, AMC Theaters, Applebee’s and more. Kansas City is also home to the largest foundation for entrepreneurs in the world, The Kauffman Foundation.
3. New York City
The largest city in the U.S., New York brings just about everything to the table for a young entrepreneur. The social scene is tough to beat with the most bars and more meetups, festivals and activities than you could ever get to. The city is well known for it’s corporate feel with business symbols like Wall Street and the New York Stock Exchange. However recently more stratups have been calling it home like Etsy, Foursquare, Meetup, Tumblr and many more.
The high cost of living sets New York back as it is the most expensive city in the United States.
4. Austin, Texas
Austin has built a reputation on being the “live music capital of the world”. However Austin has also become a major tech hub with many start-ups and major corporations calling it home in recent years. Many people in Austin experienced the dot-com boom and bust in the late 90s. The city has a great climate and abundant resources as it continues to move forward as a technology hub with much lower costs of living then places like Silicon Valley.
5. San Francisco
San Francisco is near Silicon Valley giving it no choice but to be a major hub for start-ups and high-tech companies. Tech companies like Twitter, Craigslist, Zynga and Yelp call San Francisco home along with countless numbers of small companies looking to make it big. The city is a big tourist destination giving the young community plenty to see and do along with many great west coast destinations only a short drive away. Because of the vibrant tech community networking events, conferences and meet-ups are being held consistently giving new companies a chance to network and learn with the best.
Boston has a vibrant college community which has a major impact on the overall city. Colleges like Harvard, MIT, Boston College and others contribute countless jobs and revenue to the city. The schools have also attracted the high-tech industry to the city along with many major companies. The city is home to countless start-ups, incubators and resources to entrepreneurs as many college students take a stab at their own business.
The high cost of living possibly stops Boston from being at the top of the list.
7. Palo Alto
Silicon Valley brings to mind names like Facebook and Google. The area is known for it’s high tech scene that attracts some of the hottest and biggest startups. More venture capitalists are there then we could ever list looking to invest in the next big idea.
While the area may not be ideal for small businesses or companies not looking to raise money there is no argument that being there will surround you with some of the smartest and most well connected people out there. For a young entrepreneur that 1 connection can be the ticket to bigger and better things for their own venture.
Chicago is known as one of leading financial centers in the world making it a truly business minded community. The city is located on the shore of Lake Michigan giving it a unique blend of beaches and a downtown life. One reason for not being higher on the list may be due to its nickname “the windy city”. Companies like Grubhub, Restaurant.com, The Onion, Crowdspring and more call Chicago home.
9. Washington DC
DC is an obvious choice for the list with its ideal location to the political scene. Washington has a large number of attractions like the National Mall and countless museums. The area is also home to leading colleges like Georgetown, American and George Mason University. These schools bring a very active social scene to the city which makes it a great spot for young people along with providing numerous resources for start-ups. Companies like LivingSocial, Webs.com and The Motley Fool call the city home.
Squeezing into the top 10 Seattle makes its mark on the list. Seattle has always been driven by old industrial companies but more recently newer technology and internet companies have begun to call it home. Companies like Amazon and Starbucks call Seattle home with Microsoft, Boeing and Nintendo in nearby communities.
Seattle’s climate while mild year round is still not ideal with lots of rainy and cloudy days. However Seattle’s location in the Northwest gives it a huge advantage in outdoor activities with forests, lakes, oceans and mountains all nearby.