Where to start a business? These 10 cities are reportedly best

Small businesses play “a vital role in the growth of the U.S. economy,” according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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Establishments less than one year old account for more than 3 million jobs in the U.S. each year, according to the bureau.

There are a lot of opportunities for someone looking to start their own small business. The number of self-employed workers in occupations like child care, carpentry, hairstyling and real estate is expected to rise by 2026, and self-employed workers with jobs like personal financial adviser and dentist have median incomes of more than $100,000, according to the bureau. And self-employed accountants and management analysts with a bachelor’s degree have a median income of more than $65,000.

But where’s the best place to start a small business? Inc. magazine and Startup Genome, a research and data company, “analyzed troves of data” to answer that question.

Here are the 10 best cities for starting a business in 2020, according to Inc.:

10. Miami

Aerial view of the hotels along the coast of South Florida between Fort Lauderdale and Miami.

Miami has the highest entrepreneurship rate on the list, according to Inc. The city is also home to a “hot” startup scene, with several local startups raising hundreds of millions in funding in 2019.

9. Phoenix

An aerial view of the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, the largest commercial airport in the Southwestern United States.

Phoenix ranked second for net business creation, according to Inc. U.S. Census data show Phoenix was the fastest growing city in the country, and it’s been a hotbed for business creation thanks to startup-friendly laws.

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8. San Diego

The skyline of San Diego, California, under blue sky and clouds. (REUTERS/Mike Blake) 

San Diego gets a lot of young talent thanks to the local universities. The city saw $2.5 billion in venture capital funding for life sciences and biotech businesses in 2018, according to Inc.

7. Charleston, South Carolina

Charleston, South Carolina, skyline over the Ashley River.

Charleston tops the list in net business creation, according to Inc. The city is home to a “growing tech-startup contingent” as well as others that take advantage of the local food scene.

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6. San Francisco

The Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco skyline.

“Golden Gate City” has a lot of money moving around. It ranks first for early-stage funding deals and second for wage growth, according to Inc. But despite skyrocketing rent prices, the city has a long history of successful startups and continues to see a lot of VC attention.

5. Boise, Idaho

Downtown Boise, Idaho

Boise ranks second for population growth and third for both job creation and net business creation, according to Inc. Local startups have seen a recent influx in funding, thanks in part to successful startups like Lovevery.

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4. Denver

Snow-covered Longs Peak, part of the Rocky Mountains, stands tall in the background with green trees and the downtown Denver skyline.

The “Mile-High City” has seen some high-profile IPOs, including identity-management software maker Ping Identity, according to Inc. Denver ranks second in rate of entrepreneurship and fourth for high-growth company density.

3. Durham, North Carolina

A statue on a roundabout in the center of Durham, North Carolina.

Durham ranks third for high-growth company density, according to Inc. The city’s thriving startup scene has seen several tech and science companies draw tens of millions in investment.

2. Salt Lake City

Salt Lake City is the capital and the most populous municipality in the state of Utah.

Salt Lake City tops the lists for high-growth company density and job creation, and it ranks third for population growth, according to Inc. SLC has seen big IPOs in the last few years like Domo and even the 10-figure sale of Qualtrics in 2018.

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1. Austin, Texas

A sunrise in Austin, Texas

Austin ranks third for population growth and fourth in early-stage funding, according to Inc. But the size of the market created by its “staggering” job gains and population put it at the top of the magazine’s list.

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