The number crunchers at Kiplinger.com cranked up their calculators and dug through lots of stats to come up with their list of 10 Great Cities for Starting a Business. Among their criteria: a strong community of existing small businesses; low living costs, specifically for self-employed people; a well-educated workforce and low unemployment rates, indicating a healthy local economy.

You may be surprised not to see two startup go-to locations favored by venture capitalists: San Francisco and New York City. Why didn’t they make the list? Says Kiplinger: “Not only are they among the most expensive U.S. cities to live in, but California and New York state offer two of the three worst business tax climates in the country,”

While not always a believer in such lists, we’ve decided to wholeheartedly endorse this one. Why? SmallBusiness.com comes to you from Kiplinger’s #3 great city to start a business, Nashville. If their formula is smart enough to realize that, we figure it’s smart enough to identify others on the list. Here are Kiplinger’s rankings of great cities for starting a business:

10. Columbus, Ohio

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(Photo of Columbus, Ohio via Wikimedia Commons)

Kiplinger.com: “Business-minded Buckeyes do well in Ohio’s capital. Many Fortune 500 companies, including American Electric Power and Nationwide Mutual Insurance, are based in Columbus. But don’t let the big guys intimidate you: The city is home to 19,341 companies with just one to four employees, compared with an average of just 9,611 small businesses for all metro areas in the U.S.”

  • Metro population: 1.8 million
  • Number of small businesses per 10,000 people: 105 (U.S. average: 131)
  • Cost of living for self-employed: 10.9% below the U.S. average
  • Percentage of population with bachelor’s degrees: 33.4% (U.S. average: 28.5%)
  • Unemployment rate: 4.3% (U.S.: 5.7%)

(Find links to local small business resources on the SmallBusiness.com/WIKI Columbus, Ohio Hub)

9. Denver

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(Photo of Denver via Wikimedia Commons)

Kiplinger.com: “A whole lot of entrepreneurs have already figured out that the mile-high city provides stable ground (and beautiful scenery) for lofty business goals. Denver boasts the greatest number of small businesses per 10,000 people on this list. And 58.5% of all its establishments have just one to four employees, compared with 54.6% for the U.S.”

  • Metro population: 2.6 million
  • Number of small businesses per 10,000 people: 172
  • Cost of living for self-employed: 6.0% above U.S. average
  • Percentage of population with bachelor’s degrees: 38.8%
  • Unemployment rate: 4.0%

(Find links to local small business resources on the SmallBusiness.com/WIKI Denver, Colorado Hub)

8. Indianapolis

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(Photo of Indianapolis via Wikimedia Commons)

Kiplinger.com: “Indianapolis sports a burgeoning start-up scene with an exceptionally low price tag. Not only does it offer affordable living costs, the Indiana capital’s business costs are also low, at 3.8% below average, according to KPMG. Plus, the Tax Foundation ranks Indiana among the 10 states with the best business tax climate. The state plans to lower its corporate income tax rate to 6.5% on July 1, 2015. The rate was 8.5% as recently as 2012.”

  • Metro population: 1.8 million
  • Number of small businesses per 10,000 people: 128
  • Cost of living for self-employed: 5.5% below U.S. average
  • Percentage of population with bachelor’s degrees: 31.3%
  • Unemployment rate: 4.8%

(Find links to local small business resources on the SmallBusiness.com/WIKI Indianapolis, Indiana Hub)

7. Des Moines, Iowa

desmoines-paint (1)(Photo of Des Moines via Wikimedia Commons)

Kiplinger.com: “Des Moines proves that you don’t need to be in a big city to get your big start. The city with the smallest population on this list packs in an above-average concentration of small businesses, as well as a highly educated workforce.”

  • Metro population: 571,592
  • Number of small businesses per 10,000 people: 133
  • Cost of living for self-employed: 9.9% below U.S. average
  • Percentage of population with bachelor’s degrees: 34.0%
  • Unemployment rate: 4.1%

(Find links to local small business resources on the SmallBusiness.com/WIKI Des Moines, Iowa Hub)

6. Salt Lake City

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(Photo of Salt Lake City via Wikimedia Commons)

Kiplinger.com: “What’s more attractive about Salt Lake City—its high peaks or its low costs? The owners of the city’s more than 16,500 small businesses would likely vote for the latter. Area living costs are cheap, and business costs are nearly as affordable, at 3.4% below the national average, according to KPMG. Plus, the Tax Foundation rates Utah the ninth-best state for business tax climates, with markedly favorable corporate and property taxes.”

  • Metro population: 1.1 million
  • Number of small businesses per 10,000 people: 146
  • Cost of living for self-employed: 5.1% below U.S. average
  • Percentage of population with bachelor’s degrees: 30.9%
  • Unemployment rate: 3.2%

(Find links to local small business resources on the SmallBusiness.com/WIKI Salt Lake City, Utah Hub)

5. Austin, Texas

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(Photo of Austin via Wikimedia Commons)

Kiplinger.com: “Not everything’s bigger in Texas. More than 23,500 businesses in the capital area count themselves as small—the second-most of all the cities on this list and about 2.5 times more than the national average. And their ranks are growing, fueled by a healthy flow of investment dollars. Austin, with $362 million worth of venture capital invested during the first half of 2014, was among the top 10 metro-area destinations for VC money, according to the National Venture Capital Association.”

  • Metro population: 1.7 million
  • Number of small businesses per 10,000 people: 136
  • Cost of living for self-employed: 5.0% below U.S. average
  • Percentage of population with bachelor’s degrees: 40.0%
  • Unemployment rate: 4.2%

(Find links to local small business resources on the SmallBusiness.com/WIKI Austin, Texas Hub)

4. Tulsa, Okla.

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(Photo of Tulsa via Wikimedia Commons)

Kiplinger.com: “What’s in Tulsa? Among the lowest living costs in the country, for one thing. The second-most affordable city on this list offers particularly cheap housing, with costs a whopping 34.5% below average for self-employed workers. The median home value is just $121,700 in the city (versus $181,400 for the U.S.). Tulsa is also an affordable big city for renters; the average two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment costs $592 a month, or $328 less than the national average.”

  • Metro population: 936,717
  • Number of small businesses per 10,000 people: 136
  • Cost of living for self-employed: 11.0% below U.S. average
  • Percentage of population with bachelor’s degrees: 25.7%
  • Unemployment rate: 4.6%

(Find links to local small business resources on the SmallBusiness.com/WIKI Tulsa, Oklahoma Hub)

3. Nashville

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(Photo of Nashville via Wikimedia Commons)

Kiplinger.com: “You don’t have to be a country crooner to succeed in Nashville. The nonprofit Entrepreneur Center helps start-ups in the health care, technology, social enterprise, and digital media and entertainment industries catch their big breaks, too. The Center’s incubators offer mentorships, networking assistance and other resources to help businesses launch within six months.”

  • Metro population: 1.6 million
  • Number of small businesses per 10,000 people: 123
  • Cost of living for self-employed: 9.8% below U.S. average
  • Percentage of population with bachelor’s degrees: 30.8%
  • Unemployment rate: 5.3%

(Find links to local small business resources on the SmallBusiness.com/WIKI Nashville, Tennessee Hub)

2. Omaha

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(Photo of Omaha via Wikimedia Commons)

Kiplinger.com: “When it comes to business building, what works for Warren Buffett should work for you, too. One of our 10 cheapest cities you’d actually want to live in, Omaha offers local residents and business owners rock-bottom living costs and is the most affordable city on this list. Business costs are a steal at 5.7% below the U.S. average, according to KPMG. They’re particularly favorable for financial services firms, at 15.2% below average.”

  • Unemployment rate: 3.6%
  • Metro population: 866,454
  • Number of small businesses per 10,000 people: 138
  • Cost of living for self-employed: 12.3% below U.S. average
  • Percentage of population with bachelor’s degrees: 32.7%

(Find links to local small business resources on the SmallBusiness.com/WIKI Omaha, Nebraska Hub)

1. Oklahoma City

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(Photo of Oklahoma City via Wikimedia Commons)

Kiplinger.com: “A second showing from the Sooner State tops our rankings for small-business-friendly cities. Oklahoma City is home to more than 18,600 small businesses, nearly double the national average for all metro areas. It also sports the second-highest number of small businesses per 10,000 people on this list.”

  • Metro area population: 1.3 million
  • Number of small businesses per 10,000 people: 148
  • Cost of living for self-employed: 10.1% below U.S. average
  • Percentage of population with bachelor’s degrees: 27.9%
  • Unemployment rate: 4.2%

(Find links to local small business resources on the SmallBusiness.com/WIKI Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Hub)

(via: Kiplinger.com)


 

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