Our 2019 rankings of the Best Cities for Small Businesses identify the top 10 cities where small businesses thrive. There are cities across the country where small businesses have an important foothold in the local economies.
For the purposes of these rankings, small businesses are defined as those with fewer than 50 employees.
Our rankings are based on our latest research of U.S. Census data. The rankings reflect the percentage of small businesses to the overall population in metropolitan areas of the United States with over 50,000 people. We also identify factors such as industry clusters, lifestyle, infrastructure, costs, workforce availability and a thriving entrepreneurial community nearby.
Read on for the Best Cities for Small Businesses, 2019 edition.
Best Cities for Small Businesses
Miami is a city of contrasts — a huge metropolis that is also a haven for small business. You will find 134,332 small business owners in the metro area. They make up 2.20% of the population, earning Miami the top spot this year.
The city offers not only a welcoming environment for small businesses but a feast for the eyes as well. The city is home to the largest collection of art deco architecture in the world. Most of the city’s buildings were constructed between 1923 and 1943 so visiting the city is like stepping back in time.
One of the advantages of Miami small businesses is the growing population. Florida itself is the third most populated state, and growth has exploded.
“Alligator Alley or simply ‘the Alley’ is the local name for the portion of I-75 that runs between Miami on the east coast, and Naples and Fort Myers on Florida’s west coast. The easy 2-hour drive across the Alley enables small businesses such as landscapers, electricians, IT consultants, interior designers and others to serve both coasts, widening their markets. When I first moved here I was surprised at the amount of daily crossover among niche service providers,” says Anita Campbell, founder of Small Business Trends Media, which is headquartered in Naples, Florida.
2. New York
With the iconic Statue of Liberty and Empire State Building, it’s easy to think of New York City as huge and focused on big businesses. But this city is also big for small businesses. A total of 411,323 small business owners live and work in the metro area, making up 2.03% of the total population. Leading industries are professional, scientific and technical services.
While it may seem large and intimidating to some in other parts of the country, local entrepreneurs tout the support system for small businesses. “You’ve got the NYC Department of Small Business Services all the way to an SBA office, a SCORE office, and a huge menu of entrepreneur and small business organizations such as NAWBO, BNI, Unfair Advantage, Adrian’s Network and many more,” says Ramon Ray, entrepreneur and author of Celebrity CEO.
Though best known today for its hipster culture, Portland also deserves credit for the small businesses it nurtures. There are 44,407 small business owners who live and operate companies in the metro area. They make up 1.83% of the city’s population and work in the professional, scientific and technical services.