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Report Names Best Cities to Start a Business

Published: Monday, July 21, 2014 12:44 p.m. CDT

By Natalie Wise

We all know when it comes to business, location is king. We tend to apply this to street location, but can some cities support new small businesses better than others? NerdWallet’s list of the 10 best cities to start a business can help make sure your location is truly golden.

When looking at the 50 largest cities in the country, NerdWallet took into account factors that support small business owners, such as: access to loan funding, a qualified and quality workforce, strength of the local economy and the general friendliness toward small businesses. Of course they also included the cost of living, an important figure for entrepreneurs putting every penny into their businesses.

Oklahoma City tops the list as the best city to start a small business, featuring a low unemployment rate (5.1 percent), low cost of living and the best access to loans.

The No. 2 city is Miami which had the second-best access to loans and one of the highest rates of population growth (18.64 percent). Miami also had the highest number of small businesses, but their friendliness grade of a “D” knocked this city out of the first spot.

Omaha, Neb., No. 3, had the lowest unemployment rate of the cities (4.5 percent) and a friendly small business climate.

While the No. 4 city, Raleigh, N.C., fell behind on loans, the city had the highest population growth (19.64 percent) and scored well on all other attributes.

Nashville, Tenn., No. 5, has one of the lowest percentages of population growth but offers a friendly small business atmosphere and good access to loans.

Atlanta has one of the higher incomes on the list as well as a great workforce, landing the city at No. 6.

No. 7, Austin, Texas, isn’t the place to get a loan, but if you bring your own capital, the double-digit growth, low unemployment rate and high number of small businesses make the city a great option. The cost is living is also lower than most major cities. The median cost of rent is approximately $763, according to HotPads.

Residents in Seattle make a great workforce with the highest percentage of bachelor’s degrees and the highest incomes on the list. Unfortunately, the cost of living in the No. 8 city is on the higher side as well. Rents there are about $925.

In Denver, the No. 9 city, entrepreneurs will find a well-educated workforce and a friendly small business environment.

Lastly, Memphis, Tenn., offers a low cost of living and great potential for loan access, though the city currently has the smallest number of small businesses.

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