Many people under-appreciate the amount of planning that goes into stepping out on your own and starting a business. Besides all the core, business-centred questions, a major concern can be what the startup community in your environment is like.
Will there be local competitors working in your marketplace? Does the city welcome new entrepreneurship? What local resources, natural or human, can your business take advantage of? Asking these questions is just a small part in the process of creating and developing your startup into a self-sustaining enterprise. Here, we’ll go over the five best cities for startups in North America.
Toronto might seem like an unexpected city to top our list from a US citizen’s perspective. However the city is recommended for good, non-routine related reasons. Chiefly among these reasons is Canada’s startup visa program. This government program encourages immigrant entrepreneurs, possessing the skills and motivation, to move to Canada and build innovative businesses. The goal is to create local jobs and compete on a global scale.
Toronto has made good use of the startup visa program and created one of North America’s largest startup hubs. This, paired with Canada’s excellent research atmosphere, low taxes, excellent quality of life, and low cost of doing business make it an ideal place. Additionally, the city is a hotspot of engineering-focused universities full of innovation-minded students.
Technology and business reasons aside, there are other reasons Toronto is one of the best cities for startups. For starters, there are plenty of restaurants and cafes. The city offers flexible work-spaces, an efficient public transportation system, and boasts a vibrant city center.
Austin has plenty of notable and convenient amenities. Much of the media around startups nowadays focuses on engineering and technology innovations. However other sectors with good startup potential exist. If you’re looking to work in a more retail-minded or creative sector, Austin’s diverse and well-educated workforce brings plenty of opportunities to the table.
It’s of little wonder, therefore, to learn that Austin grows startups faster than nearly every other U.S. city. Consider the city’s low taxes, low cost of living and lack of a personal income tax. Add the zero percent corporate tax rate and it quickly becomes an ideal place to start a venture.
Startup culture isn’t just about work though. Fortunately, Austin has plenty of things to do to keep you and your future employees satisfied and free from burnout.
The Mile-High City has high marks for being one of the best cities for startups, though it’s lesser known than its coastal city competitors. Despite a modest number of startups compared to others on this list, Denver’s has over 2,000 startup events every year, with over 17,500 attendees in a week.
Because it has a smaller startup community than places like New York City or Chicago, networking in Denver’s startup community is more welcoming and team focused. The growing millennial population and area’s well-educated workforce has contributed to an influx of tech companies. This is what makes Denver one of Cushman and Wakefield’s top tech cities.
Denver also has a great work-life balance that brings out the best in employees, whether they’re natives or new to the area. With its reasonable cost of living and stable economy, employees aren’t forced to work a second job to get by. Instead, they can enjoy the area’s natural attractions and better develop themselves.
Time to move back across the border into Canada. Montreal startups benefit from Canada’s startup visa program. But Montreal’s government established grants and financial assistance programs to encourage technological development. Examples of these include the Scientific Research and Experimental Development (SRED) tax incentive program and the International Science and Technology Partnership Program.
These measures make it possible for area startups to receive the funding they need to survive and thrive. Canada’s universal healthcare system also cuts down the costs of operating a business by lifting the financial and bureaucratic burden for employers.
San Diego’s natural beauty, low crime rates, and proximity to universities makes it a quality place for startups. There are already around 1,050 startups in the city, with strong numbers from the medical and science sectors. In the last year alone, there’s been well over 1,500 startup events.
A strong funding climate, comparatively low cost of living, and less competition of university talent makes capital last longer and helps to combat burnout.
Explore Your Options.
Worried your own city or target location isn’t on this list? Don’t fret. As industries and regional economies change, city policies do too. To encourage job growth and business relocation, more cities (and countries) are working with developers to construct business-friendly spaces. Many city officials also meet with hospitality and travel leaders to see how they can work together to attract big conferences and meetings.
If waiting isn’t in the cards, however, look at the locations available to you right now. With their amenities, business-friendly policies and strategic geographical locations, Toronto, Austin, Denver, Montreal and San Diego offer many opportunities for the startup community. This makes them, without a doubt, some of the best cities for startups.