Lakeshore, Real Estate, and Small Business & Startups

West Michigan town is No. 1 'small city to start a business' in US

April 17, 2017
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A personal finance website has selected a West Michigan town as the best small city in the U.S. to start a business.

Holland tops the 2017 ranking of the “Best Small Cities to Start a Business” by Wallethub.

“Every small city offers unique advantages and disadvantages to prospective ventures,” WalletHub says. “Lower overhead costs, stronger relationships with customers and the potential to become a big fish in a little pond are among the benefits.”


To create the ranking, the site analyzed 1,261 cities with populations of 25,000 to 100,000 using 16 metrics.

The analysis looked at three categories of factors: business environment, access to resources and business costs.

The key metrics in the business environment category were average length of workweek, average growth in the number of small businesses, number of startups per capita, average revenue per business, average growth of business revenues and industry variety.

The access to resources category included financing accessibility, investor access, human resources availability, higher education assets, workforce educational attainment and working-age population growth.

The business costs category included office space affordability, labor costs, corporate taxes and cost of living.

The site used weighted averages to determine the ranking.

Best versus worst

Bend and Redmond, Oregon have the highest number of startups per 100,000 residents, 280, which is 9.3-times higher than in Salisbury, Maryland, the city with the lowest, 30.

Wellesley, Massachusetts has the highest share of the population with at least a bachelor’s degree, 83.4 percent, which is 21.9-times higher than in Wasco, California, the city with the lowest, 3.8 percent.

Kentwood has the most affordable office space, at an annual rate of $9.06 per square foot, which is 6.8-times lower than in Mountain View, California, the city with the least affordable office space, at an annual rate of $61.85 per square foot.

Carbondale, Illinois has the lowest labor costs (or median annual income), $17,764, which is 10.5-times lower than in McLean, Virginia, the city with the highest, $186,962.

Pharr, Texas has the lowest cost-of-living index, 70, which is 3.2-times lower than in Palo Alto, California, the city with the highest, 222.

Fort Hood, Texas has the longest work week, 49.1 hours on average, which is 1.7-times longer than in East Lansing, the city with the shortest, 28.2 hours on average.

Top 20 “Best Small Cities to Start a Business”

1. Holland

2. Carbondale, Illinois

3. Springville, Utah

4. East Chicago, Indiana

5. Jefferson City, Missouri

6. Wilson, North Carolina

7. Enid, Oklahoma

8. Rio Rancho, New Mexico

9. Clearfield, Utah

10. Cheyenne, Wyoming

11. Irondequoit, New York

12. Hobbs, New Mexico

13. La Vergne, Tennessee

14. Tonawanda, New York

15. North Chicago, Illinois

16. Superior, Wisconsin

17. Deer Park, Texas

18. Big Spring, Texas

19. Maryland Heights, Missouri

20. Grand Island, Nebraska

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