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March 26, 2024 | Tom Ballard

Another ranking of best cities for starting a business

Atlanta tops the list, with Nashville ranked #27 and Memphis placing #45 among the top 50 based on population.

Atlanta, followed by three Florida cities and Austin, top the rankings of the best cities in which to start a business.

This listing comes from Homebay, a real estate platform that compared the 50 most populous U.S. metro areas across a dozen plus metrics. Those measures and their weighting were:

  • Business applications per 1,000 residents in the past five years (15.4 percent);
  • Venture capital investment by metro (11.5 percent);
  • Job growth by metro from November 2022 to November 2023 (11.5 percent);
  • Business applications per 1,000 residents in the past year (7.7 percent);
  • Venture capital investment by state (7.7 percent);
  • Employee affordability based on average personal income (7.7 percent);
  • Percent of population with a bachelor’s degree or higher (7.7 percent);
  • Chief Executive Officers per 100,000 residents (7.7 percent);
  • LLC filing fees (3.8 percent);
  • Incorporation filing fees (3.8 percent);
  • Top marginal corporate income tax rate (3.8 percent);
  • Google Trends data (3.8 percent);
  • U.S. News & World Report Best Places to Live — overall score (3.8 percent); and
  • U.S. News & World Report Best Places to Live – quality of life score (3.8 percent).

Nashville and Memphis were the only two Tennessee cities ranked. Music City came in at #27, while the Bluff City placed #45.

“Strong business growth, a large talent pool, and low operating costs make Atlanta the best city to start a business — up from #5 in our 2022 ranking,” Homebay wrote. “Atlanta may be home to mega corporations such as Coca-Cola, Chick-fil-A, and Delta Air Lines, but young companies play a big role in Atlanta’s economic ecosystem. Over the past five years, Atlanta has the second-highest number of new business applications with 28.5 per 1,000 residents — nearly double the number in the average U.S. city (14.5). Georgia’s capital has more than 25 incubators and accelerators to help scale small businesses, but many bootstrapping entrepreneurs are learning to grow on their own terms.”

The three Florida cities in the top 5 were Miami, Orlando, and Tampa, respectively, and Jacksonville placed #9.

The rankings can be found here.


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