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Tom's Blog: 2018's Best & Worst Small Cities to Start A Business

I was asked to participate in a panel of experts from across the country to discuss the challenges and opportunities for entrepreneurs in small cities.  The following article ranks the best small cities to start a business, with a very consistent message from those who were asked to participate.  Marc Cuban and I have similar comments - and together - we are worth $2.7 billion.  

For those that want to start a small business:  do your homework and network

For cities that want to attract small business:  reduce friction and provide access to capital

While Richmond ranked 86th overall, we ranked in the bottom quartile - 1009 out of 1261 – in the category of “Business Environment Rank” – measured by such indices as average work week, commute, small business growth, and startups per capita.  

So that means we had to rank much higher in the other areas to pull up the environmental ranking.  For “Business Costs”, we have affordable office space, affordable labor, and our cost of living is incredibly competitive. 

For “Access to Resources”, Richmond has access to a variety of financing options, but EKU has a significant and positive effect on this measure.  Two of the components of this category is Higher Education Assets and Workforce Educational Attainment.  EKU leads the Commonwealth in two crucial stats:  Eighty-nine percent of EKU’s students are from Kentucky and 76% of those students are employed in Kentucky one year after they graduate, with a large number of those graduates here in Richmond. It's worth repeating: that is better than any other university in Kentucky.

What is the takeaway for policymakers in Richmond and Madison County?  Both of these categories – Business Cost and Access to Resources, should be critical, unfair, competitive advantages for recruiting new business, young entrepreneurs, existing corporations, and families. 

Published on April 19, 2018

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