When most people think about the ideal place to launch their startup or expand their business, many instantly think of Silicon Valley, San Francisco, Los Angeles, or New York. However, those traditional entrepreneurship hubs aren’t the only areas offering opportunity, unique culture, and business advantages.
Here are seven other areas you should consider for your next business venture, along with a word of advice from residents and business leaders in each place.
1. Las Vegas
When hearing the word “Vegas,” most picture a city full of blinding lights and noisy slot machines — few think of it as a place to begin their next business venture. But according to Ronald Arceo, co-founder of The Foodbox, said, “Vegas is a growing city, and it is the perfect place to test ideas and concepts. Metaphorically, Las Vegas is in its early teens in terms of entrepreneurship. We’re currently experiencing a great revitalization, largely in part due to the Downtown Project.”
2. Chicago Loop
While Chicago might already be on entrepreneurs’ radar, The Loop area specifically is an attractive place to look into. Mike Edwards, Executive Director of the Chicago Loop Alliance, explained, “The Loop enjoys high-performing economic drivers from real estate and education to tourism and the arts. This creates world-class opportunity for businesses, investors, and entrepreneurs alike.” The Loop hosts Chicago’s commercial core and is the seat of Cook County.
3. St. Louis
According to Josh Turner, founder of LinkedSelling, “The exploding tech and startup scenes (GlobalHack, Arch Grants, T-Rex), along with a low cost of living and elite universities like St. Louis University and Washington University in St. Louis, make St. Louis one of the best-kept secrets in the country.
“While many think we all look and talk like a ‘Duck Dynasty’ character, in reality, St. Louis offers a healthy blend of culture, community, and great opportunities for businesses of all sizes.”
Michael Mogill, President at Crisp Video Group, said, “Not only is it home to several Fortune 100 companies, like Coca-Cola and Home Depot, but Atlanta has a rich history of tech-related successes, such as MailChimp and Pardot.”
Atlanta also has a soft spot for less-established businesses, offering outlets for startups. “Organizations like the Atlanta Tech Village and Startup Atlanta support entrepreneurs and promote connections between talent, ideas, and capital,” Mogill added.
The combination of enthusiasm, spirited cooperation, and drive from local people and universities is what makes Orlando a unique and exciting area for AKT Enterprises President Alex Tchekmeian. “With the wealth of youth and energy in town, Orlando exemplifies the evolution in the business world. Collaborative workspaces, industry meetups, and networking events have created an atmosphere of innovation for the entire city,” Tchekmeian stated.
6. Kansas City
According to Kyle Rogers, CEO of Knoda, the food — not just the barbecue! — is a great plus for anyone considering KC as a landing spot for their business. Rogers also said, “The energy coming from community and business leaders alike is refreshing and has the whole city moving in the right direction.” Some other exciting things to note in Kansas City include the Fiber House from Brad Feld, Think Big, Homes for Hackers, and the Kansas City Startup Village.
Dallas is well-known for a variety of things already, but according to Flip Croft Caderao, Principal and Co-Founder of The Infinite Agency, “Dallas is rising in the ranks of the best cities in America. In addition to practical business advantages (major city, no state tax, right to work), Dallas is a vibrant city competing with Los Angeles style and New York fashion and culture. That mentality has — and will — continue to drive our culture to generate more opportunity for everyone.” Another fun fact: The Dallas metro area took spots six and seven on Forbes’ list of fastest-growing cities since the recession.
Break away from the norm and bring your great ideas to one of these cities. You just might find an opportunity you’d never have found anywhere else.
Joshua Johnson is Vice President at Influence & Co. a business that helps companies position key individuals as subject matter experts through thought leadership content. You can reach out to Josh on Twitter @JoshuaJohnsonT or on Google+.
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