There is much to consider when starting your own business, especially in a slow economy. Location is extremely important and there are some U.S. cities that are more entrepreneur-friendly than others. Denver has been recently named the third-best city for a startup business by VentureBeat, outshining Washington D.C. and New York City.
When evaluating cities, VentureBeat examined factors such as city tax breaks for small businesses, government programs, talent pools and culture. Denver earned the number-three spot for several reasons and some of them include recognition of its neighboring city, Boulder. So why is the Denver/Boulder area so attractive to those looking to get their business off the ground?
We are a pretty smart bunch. The majority of the population has earned bachelor’s degrees or higher and when Business Week named Boulder as the number-one city to start a business, they sited 29 percent of the population as being of the creative-class.
We have a lot of help. Startup Colorado, the local arm of President Obama’s Startup America Partnership helps startups connect with resources to help them grow, other companies that are going experiences similar challenges, networking opportunities with experts, and more. The Denver Office of Economic Development is deeply involved with supporting and stimulating local businesses. It is even running a competition called the JumpStart Biz Plan Awards, recognizing ten startup and early-stage business plans as finalists, and awarding a grand prize that includes $50,000 cash.
We have a winning track history. Many successful companies started up in the metro area; Mapquest, Crocs, and Smashburger just to name a few. In 2011, the rapidly-growing Smashburger was even named by Forbes Magazine as “America’s Most Promising Company.”
Being married to a business owner who started up in the Denver area five years ago, I knew my husband would have an opinion about this as his company has been steadily growing. He said that the culture is a big draw. He explained that when so many people desire to live in our area, businesses have a large and diverse population of which to market and recruit quality employees. He echoed the importance of economic development programs, and mentioned that not only does Denver truly care about businesses’ success but many major cities in Colorado now have some kind of economic development arm.
What do you think? Is Denver the “place to be?” What makes the metro area an ideal or not-so-ideal location for startups?