14 Best Start-Up Cities in the US

Would you have expected St. Louis, MO to top the list?

PMIt’s not unusual today for a city to have a robust support system for startups. But the network in St. Louis came together like lightning. When Anheuser-Busch was sold in 2008, St. Louis’s unemployment rate was about 6 percent and rising sharply. (It peaked 15 months later at 10 percent.) That’s when a consortium of business leaders, the state economic development agency, the St. Louis chamber of commerce, and the universities devised a plan to create jobs by creating startups. From 2011 to 2013 the ecosystem supporting entrepreneurs more than doubled in size with the launch of eight makerspaces (shops with tools like 3D printers and laser cutters), accelerators (early-stage investors and mentors), and coworking spaces (a shared office for startups, with low rent).

Or Holyoke, MA to be in the top ten?  Well, according to Mayor Alex Morse:

One advantage we have is cheap energy. On the city’s eastern border the Connecticut River drops 57 feet as it presses south. When the city was founded, in 1850, the river powered waterwheels for paper mills; today it generates inexpensive, clean energy. The old mills are attractive industrial work spaces. A new coworking and makerspace, Brick Coworkshop, has been in one of the old mills since 2013. The owner says his operating costs are about a third of what they would be in a bigger city like Boston.

The Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center opened here in November 2012 and has drawn other tech-based businesses to the city. Spinoff development includes Gateway City Arts: We gave them a tax incentive—a first for a local creative business—and they recently purchased another building.

Popular Mechanics put together the list and it has more than a few surprises.  You can check it out for yourself here.


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