This year, accessible business resources and tax incentives, as well as a healthy presence of venture capital funding, helped these 10 metro areas sustain the largest number of fast-growing companies. Which city in America is home to the most Inc. 5000 companies? Click through the Gallery to discover the city with 350 of the fastest growers, many in the high tech and new media sectors. Hint: It's not San Francisco. -- Maeghan Ouimet
Although this city is mainly a tourist destination, Miami-Dade County boosts business development through a statewide small business service network. The Small Business Development Center Miami-Dade (SBDC) helps small businesses with resources like accounting guidance, training workshops, and access to accountants and attorneys. The top two fastest-growing companies in the Miami area are financial service companies Unified Payments and Merchant Services.
Philadelphia has long been known as a hub for medicine and health services. Not surprisingly, two of the top ten fastest-growing companies in the Philadelphia area are in the health sector: Accolade and The FlexPro Group. Tech and life science venture firms like Safegaurd Scientifics and First Round Capital help these companies thrive.
While recent grads flock to Silicon Valley, Dallas is home to many start-ups led by mid-career founders. While these start-ups span different industries, according to the Greater Dallas Chamber of Commerce, the area is home to about 43% of the state’s high-tech workers, including fast-growing company Bottle Rocket Apps. Texas also has low taxes and helps shield companies from lawsuits through a tort reform law.
The Bay Area is all about emerging tech companies, and it's the place to be if you're in search of funding. Top VC firms like Andreessen Horowitz, Sequoia Capital, and Accel Partners fuel the area, as do many angel and early-round investors. Accel backs San Francisco list-topper AdRoll, for instance. Stanford also produces engineers, many of whom create companies in the area, and earn a two-year city payroll tax credit in the process (Twitter did this recently). Still, the Bay Area does not top the list of the cities with the most Inc. 5000 companies.
With students contributing an estimated $4.8 billion to the city each year, Boston--and its start-up programs at MIT and Harvard, among others--is a veritable thought incubator. Technology, and consumer service companies such as NextWorth Solutions and DealerRater have a large presence in the city. Mayor Thomas Menino has introduced initiatives for small businesses like Boston Buying Power, which saves small companies over $2 million on energy costs. Boston is also home to a VC firms Greylock Partners and Highland Capital.
Atlanta steps up a spot from last year’s top city list. Large corporations like Coca-Cola and Delta are increasingly working with small businesses in Atlanta to help the city grow. Delta’s supplier diversity program seeks the products of small businesses to fuel its own business. Georgia Tech boosts the tech sector in the area through entrepreneurship courses. Some of the area’s fastest-growing companies like Edge Solutions and AirWatch are in IT or software.
This Midwest city boasts the third largest gross metropolitan product after New York and Los Angeles. Known for manufacturing, publishing, and finance, most companies that top the Chicago list come from outside these sectors, including the fastest-growing in the area Red Frog Events. Other companies that got their start in Chi-town: Groupon and Feedburner.
Full of entrepreneurial spirit, Los Angeles is also a large manufacturing center. Three of the top 10 fastest-growing companies in the city are in retail, including vintage clothing company Nasty Gal and online shoe store ShoeZoo.com. L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa believes that small business is the backbone of L.A.’s economy and, to help it, put in place a number of cost-saving tools such as credit repair services, entrepreneurial workshops, and procurement assistance.
Four of the top 10 fastest growers in D.C. are in the government services industry. This includes government information and technology services company Zantech IT Services. The area is also ripe with higher education options from Georgetown and American, luring academics to the area and supplying educated employees. According to The Economist, D.C. had the lowest unemployment rate of all metro areas in 2011.
Lately, high-tech and new media have proliferated in the city most commonly known for finance. Mayor Michael Bloomberg spearheaded an effort to help Silicon Alley compete with its West Coast counterpart, and the city pledged $100 million for CornellNYC Tech to build a grad school campus on Roosevelt Island. Sign of the times: New York’s fastest-growing company is first-timer online media platform Livestream.