Best Small Cities to Start a Business – WalletHub Report

With National Small Business Week approaching and 20% of new businesses failing within the first year, the personal-finance website WalletHub today released its report on 2024’s Best Small Cities to Start a Business, as well as expert commentary, to help entrepreneurs find a place where their startup can not only survive but thrive.

To determine the most business-friendly small markets in the U.S., WalletHub compared more than 1,300 cities with fewer than 100,000 residents across 18 key metrics. The data set ranges from small business growth rates and the accessibility of financing to investor access and labor costs.

Top 20 Small Cities to Start a Business
1. Cedar City, UT 11. Bozeman, MT
2. St. George, UT 12. Eagle Mountain, UT
3. Fort Myers, FL 13. Winter Park, FL
4. Washington, UT 14. Midvale, UT
5. Post Falls, ID 15. American Fork, UT
6. South Bradenton, FL 16. Helena, MT
7. Morrisville, NC 17. Sarasota, FL
8. Lehi, UT 18. Casselberry, FL
9. Altamonte Springs, FL 19. Springville, UT
10. Coeur d’Alene, ID 20. Bradenton, FL

Key Stats

  • Bozeman, Montana, has the highest number of startups per 100,000 residents, which is 8.5 times higher than in Galesburg, Illinois, the city with the lowest.
  • Bethesda, Maryland, has the highest share of the population with at least a bachelor’s degree, which is 19.1 times higher than in Coachella, California, the city with the lowest.
  • Kentwood, Michigan, has the most affordable office spaces, which is 6.8 times lower than in Mountain View, California, the city with the least affordable.
  • Isla Vista, California, has the lowest labor costs (median annual income), which is 10.8 times lower than in Los Altos, California, among the cities with the highest.
  • Fort Hood, Texas, has the longest work week, which is 1.9 times longer than in Isla Vista, California, the city with the shortest.