Although the internet allows businesses to flourish anywhere, business owners and entrepreneurs still gravitate toward large cities. Why? Because despite their higher startup and operating costs, major metropolitans offer a slew of advantages smaller cities and towns cannot, mainly access to resources.
Large cities offer access to sizable and talented labor pools, investment capital, and suppliers and contractors — all important for a business to be able to grow. All those resources are close by in a large city, making networking much easier too. So rather than meeting over Zoom, business owners can meet face to face with potential partners and investors. Of course, other factors matter as well, including business climate and costs of living. This is the most expensive city in every state.
To identify the 50 best large cities to start a business, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed data from WalletHub, which ranked 100 large U.S. cities across three key dimensions — business environment, access to resources, and business costs — using 21 metrics like average business revenue growth for business environment, human capital availability for access to resources, and labor costs for business costs. 24/7 Wall St. added seasonally-adjusted estimates for June 2021 unemployment rates from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Most major cities also host colleges and universities that provide a steady pipeline of talent into the labor force. The city ranking No. 2 on this list, Durham, North Carolina, is home to Duke University, a leading research institution.
And if a business requires foot traffic to bring in potential customers, a large city is the place to be. Warm weather doesn’t hurt either, which is why Texas and California both have nine cities on this list. Lubbock and Laredo, Texas, rank third and first, respectively. But other Western cities ranked high, as well. Boise, Idaho, sits at No. 5, perhaps due to its booming tech sector. In fact, Boise was one of America’s fastest growing cities.
Although Western and Southern states like Florida offer a welcoming landing spot for new businesses, the Midwest isn’t completely off the radar. Indianapolis and Kansas City, Missouri, represent established Midwestern cities that remain attractive to entrepreneurs.