Have you been bitten by the entrepreneurial bug and are looking for somewhere to start a small business? North Carolina’s Research Triangle is a great place to start your search.
Raleigh topped LendingTree’s Best Places to Start a Small Business list. Durham fell not far behind at fourth, while Charlotte, though not located in the Triangle, ranked third.
To make the rankings, LendingTree analysts compared nine metrics across the 100 most populous metro areas in the United States to identify the best places to start a small business, classifying them into three different categories that they then averaged to produce a final score.
Metrics included the unemployment rate, the proportion of residents with at least a bachelor’s degree, the proportion of residents in what is considered “prime working years” (between the ages of 25 and 54) and the proportion of self-employed residents.
With over half of its population in their prime working years, the city’s highly-educated population—48% of residents have at least a bachelor’s degree, according to LendingTree—and low unemployment rate of 3.8% as of August 2021 contributed to its high ranking.
In a similar study by WalletHub, Charlotte and Raleigh fared slightly worse, receiving the rankings of #6 and #7. Durham, on the other hand, placed slightly better in the WalletHub study at #2. Southern cities dominated the top 15, snagging all but two spots.
Similarly-ranked cities in the LendingTree list included Austin, Texas (No. 2), Boise, Idaho (No. 5), Portland, Ore. (No. 7) and Salt Lake City, Utah (No. 8).
The Piedmont Triad was also well-represented on this list, with Winston-Salem and Greensboro receiving ranks of No. 39 and No. 48 respectively.
North Carolina’s strong presence on this list may be at least partly explained by the state’s favorable tax climate, with the state having one of the lowest maximum corporate tax rates in the U.S.
On the West Coast, the California metro areas of Bakersfield (No. 100), Stockton (No. 99) and Fresno (No. 98) were among the three worst places to start a small business, primarily due to high unemployment rates, high housing costs and poor tax climates.
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