Q. Where do you live and what makes it a unique and incredible place for entrepreneurs to live and work?
Story V., Salem, OR
The following answers are provided by the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC). Founded by Scott Gerber, the YEC is an invite-only nonprofit organization comprised of the country’s most promising young entrepreneurs. The YEC promotes entrepreneurship as a solution to youth unemployment and underemployment and provides its members with access to tools, mentorship, and resources that support each stage of a business’s development and growth.
A. The Happiest, Smartest City on Earth
We are based in beautiful Boulder, Colorado. It has a long resume of accolades, such as the most educated U.S. metropolitan area (US News & World Report), happiest, healthiest city in U.S. (2010 Gallup poll), and is “America’s best town for startups” (BusinessWeek). Boulder’s thriving startup scene, incredible quality of life and close-knit community make it a phenomenal place for entrepreneurs.
A. NYC Is the Place to Be
New York City is a fascinating and wonderful city for entrepreneurs. Big brands are interspersed with innovative startups, there is a lot of capital for supporting nascent businesses and Mayor Bloomberg has enacted founder-friendly policies to support innovation. NYC is full of hardworking people with diverse backgrounds and skills, and it’s the city that, like an entrepreneur, never sleeps.
Chicago has grown into an amazing entrepreneurial ecosystem in the past three years. With great tech companies from years past like Orbitz and new powerhouses like Groupon calling Chicago home, the necessary infrastructure for an entrepreneur to succeed has sprung up, from venture capital firms to legal resources to startup accelerators. And it’s easy travel to anywhere in the nation.
I have the privilege of living and working in the country of Israel. Israel is a unique country. It’s the only democracy in the Middle East, smaller than the size of New Jersey and consists of only 7 million people. That being said, it has the second highest number of startups in the world after the US. The innovation in this country is absolutely inspiring.
A. Ann Arbor, Michigan
Ann Arbor has a thriving entrepreneurship community due to the University of Michigan, Michigan economic development initiatives and, most importantly, entrepreneurs that choose to grow their companies here. Plus the quality of life is fantastic: There’s plenty of art, culture and shopping, but it only takes 15 minutes to get from the edge of town to city center (unless there’s a football game!).
A. Manhattan Beach, California
I get the best of many worlds: The beach, good weather, proximity to many events and places, but most importantly, easy access to incredible people. Manhattan Beach is only 12 minutes from LAX — a massive international airport. This allows me to meet with many people before or between flights. Tapping into a busy and successful person’s downtime is an excellent way to network.
A. The Start-Up Boom in Sin City
Unemployment, foreclosures and … start-ups? Las Vegas is one of the most exciting and affordable cities in the country to launch a new business. And now Zappos CEO, Tony Hsieh, has launched the Downtown Project, an incubator for new Las Vegas businesses. Funded with $350 million of his own money, everyday I’m meeting new, financed business owners taking part in Vegas’ new wave of innovation.
A. Madison, Wisconsin
Madison is a great place for entrepreneurs because it has great quality of life for an inexpensive price, a thriving tech scene and a top notch public university where you can find great talent. There is a 25 percent investor tax credit that makes raising money easier and organizations like Capital Entrepreneurs, Merlin Mentors and Forward Technology Festival create a vibrant ecosystem.
A. Portland, Oregon
Portland provides an incredible atmosphere for entrepreneurs. It has the culture of a much larger city without the price tag and is a melting pot of technology and traditional businesses. The city is entrepreneurial, laid-back and boasts a variety of outdoor activities to keep you fit and flourishing. Its proximity to Seattle, Vancouver and California also helps.
A. Berkeley, CA
Berkeley is in the middle of it all. There are unbelievable engineers from the graduate schools, amazing undergrads who are eager to learn as employees and interns and venture capitalists and other entrepreneurs willing to support you, challenge you and work with you. And of course, the Bay Area has amazing natural surroundings, so you and the team can refresh with a hike, swim, bike or ski!
A. Vancouver, Canada
There aren’t many places in the world where you get the bustle of a city while being surrounded by beautiful nature. Vancouver provides high standards of living, quick flights across the country, top local and international talent, a variety of entrepreneurial support services, financing programs for SMEs, a growing Venture Capitalist industry and some of the freshest and most amazing cuisine.
A. Miami, Florida
Miami’s tropical climate makes for spectacular weather. Its beautiful beaches, warm waters and stunning sunrises are awe-inspiring. Its global positioning makes it an international hub and its immigrant history provides plenty of successful startup stories and experienced entrepreneurs willing to help the next generation of young business owners.