10 Small Cities to Start a Side Hustle or Startup: The Verizon Report
Living in small towns has its perks – and sometimes, that includes a surprising amount of resources and lower-than-average costs for a side hustle or dreams of starting out.
This is the case for a handful of cities with 50,000 to 75,000 people, according to Verizon Small Business’ 5th annual ranking of the Best Small U.S. Cities for Starting a Small Business. From Logan, Utah, to Missoula, Montana, the top ten list includes cities with low corporate tax rates, low commuting times for workers, and high per capita incomes.
Verizon also looked at the availability of business loans, the percentage of city residents with at least a bachelor’s degree and the availability of high-speed Internet — pulling data from the 2020 Census, and the US Small Business Administration and Tax Foundation, rather than Verizon’s own metrics — examining 333 small cities.
Here are the top 10:
- Logan, Utah
- Richland, Washington
- Corvallis, Oregon
- Millcreek, Utah
- Kentwood, Michigan
- Olympia, Washington
- Royal Oak, Michigan
- Palm Beach Gardens, Florida
- Leahy, Utah
- Missoula, Montana
Logan, the #1 city on the list, is home to just over 54,000 people in northern Utah, near the Idaho border. Verizon notes that the city boasts low corporate tax rates and low commute times for workers — only about 18 minutes on average — which can help with employment and productivity, according to multiple studies.
The average commute time nationwide for workers not working from home is about 28 minutes, according to the US Census Bureau.
Richland ranked second on the list for two reasons: 25% of its population of about 62,000 have a bachelor’s degree, and only 4% per capita income is above average. This means that a large part of the workforce is well educated while labor costs remain reasonable.
Corvallis, city number 3 on the list, is a city of nearly 60,000 residents located 80 miles south of Portland. It features an average commute time of just 22 minutes and business loans “easily available,” according to a Verizon analysis of SBA data.
Utah, Washington, and Michigan are popular states on this list—especially Utah, which has landed three cities in the top ten somewhat, which isn’t surprising: Utah ranked third overall in CNBC’s 2021 Best States for Business rankings, thanks to strong economic growth. And an appropriate tax rate for companies.
Washington ranked ninth on CNBC’s list, scoring highly for economic growth and access to technology. Michigan ranked 11th, due to its strong technical infrastructure and the relatively low cost of doing business.
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