Here's Inc. magazine's 2000 list of the best metro areas, big and small, in which to start and grow your business.
50 Best Large Metro Areas to Start and Grow a Company
1. Phoenix, AZ
Rapid population growth means more customers and more workers, particularly for high-tech companies, while a renovated art museum, four major sports franchises, and the sunny climate attract residents.
2. Salt Lake City-Provo, UT
The host city of the 2002 Winter Olympics prides itself on its affordable lifestyle and young, educated, often multilingual workforce (reflecting the influence of the Church of the Latter Day Saints).
3. Atlanta, GA
Still the capital of the New South, Atlanta has a range of resources for the entrepreneur: universities, a major airport, a large and educated workforce, and access to venture capital and other funding.
4. Raleigh-Durham, NC
The home of three powerhouse universities (Duke, University of North Carolina, and North Carolina State) and software/pharmaceutical stronghold Research Triangle Park has a strong entrepreneurial infrastructure.
5. Indianapolis, IN
Established local industries such as pharmaceuticals and auto racing are spinning off start-ups in biotech, software, and other technical areas.
6. Dallas-Fort Worth, TX
The base of 19 Fortune 500 companies, with strengths in energy, banking, insurance, and convention business, the Dallas-Fort Worth area is also a hotbed of telecommunications-technology companies.
7. Charlotte, NC-SC
A national sports and banking capital, Charlotte is the big city of the Carolinas but remains livable enough to attract a skilled workforce.
8. Memphis, TN-AR-MS
Memphis's strength as a shipping and air-cargo hub gives its businesses access to customers and suppliers all over the country and the world.
9. Washington, DC-MD-VA
The area's longtime major industry, the federal government, is now facing competition from the Internet service providers, software companies, and Web-hosting data centers clustered in northern Virginia.
10. Orlando, FL
Tourism is still the big moneymaker, but Orlando aims to diversify into high tech, starting with a cluster of laser-related businesses growing out of the University of Central Florida.
11. Denver-Boulder, CO 12. Birmingham-Tuscaloosa, AL 13. Grand Rapids-Muskegon, MI 14. San Diego, CA 15. Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN-WI 16. Louisville, KY-IN 17. Houston-Galveston, TX 18. Nashville, TN 19. Kansas City, MO-KS 20. Milwaukee-Racine-Sheboygan, WI 21. Columbus, OH 22. San Antonio, TX 23. Miami-Fort Lauderdale, FL 24. San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose, CA 25. Cincinnati, OH-KY-IN 26. Tampa-St. Petersburg, FL 27. Richmond, VA 28. St. Louis, MO-IL 29. Detroit, MI 30. Baltimore, MD 31. Chicago, IL-IN 32. Portland-Vancouver, OR-WA 33. Norfolk-Portsmouth-Virginia Beach, VA 34. Seattle, WA 35. Boston, MA 36. Los Angeles, CA 37. Dayton-Springfield, OH 38. Oklahoma City, OK 39. New Orleans, LA 40. Cleveland-Akron, OH 41. Greensboro-Winston-Salem, NC 42. Sacramento, CA 43. Philadelphia, PA-NJ 44. Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT 45. Pittsburgh, PA 46. New York, NY-NJ 47. Buffalo, NY 48. Hartford, CT 49. Rochester, NY 50. Albany-Schenectady-Troy-Glens Falls, NY