Three Best Places for an Aspiring Entrepreneur

Come 2007 I can technically move anywhere, as I have no physical ties to Austin, TX.

I had no plans to move, but I wanted to see what my potential city candidates were before I completely knocked the idea.

Asking some mentors, I was advised that any city I lived in would be most beneficial to me if it has the following things:

-Strong educational resources in the university environment.
-Strong relationship between science and business.
-A strong and established business incubator.
-High tech companies all around.

There are areas in the United States that fit these criteria:
-Silicon Valley in California (San Francisco & surrounding area)
-Route 128 in Massachusetts (Boston, MA.)
-Austin, TX.

There is simply more opportunity in these three places for a startup company than anywhere else in the United States.

Blog posted on: September 15, 2006

24 comments on “Three Best Places for an Aspiring Entrepreneur

  1. Anonymous

    Take housing costs into consideration. Silicon Valley will then certainly come up a cropper (housing prices will be crashing there, so wait for the crash).

  2. Anonymous

    Corvallis, Oregon is home to:

    AVI BioPharma
    Oregon State University (20,000 students).

    ^70,000 people live there and it is very business-friendly. As a bonus, there is NO SALES TAX.

    You should check it out, Nev.

  3. personal finance advice

    Unless you are specifically doing high tech and need to be in Silicon Valley, it is not the place. Not only is housing outrageous, due to that, salaries are also much higher than most places. you can take a quick look at what $1 million will get you in Cupertino which isn’t anything grand – seems to be one of the few places in California where housing hasn’t softened yet…

  4. Anonymous

    Columbus, Ohio is a place similar to Austin. I don’t know about the business incubator thing though, but the city is very similar!

  5. LiLy

    Just responding to anonymous accounts of Silicon Valley real estate bubble bursting… it’s not going to happen. True, there’s been a soft landing and there’s been talk of the real estate bubble since I’ve been selling here in the Santa Clara Valley since 2000, yet price remain relatively stable.

    Alex Wang
    RE/MAX Santa Clara Valley

  6. Anonymous

    Check out RTP, NC (Raleigh-Durham area). Lots of great universities and also tech companies in the area. Plus the housing market is not totally insane like CA and the Boston area.

  7. Anonymous

    There will be a housing collapse in the next 12-18 months. This will lead to a recession in 2007. Housing prices should drop 10-15% by the end of 2006. Dont believe the “soft landing” story.

  8. Anonymous

    I’d like to nominate Philadelphia..real quickly: * Drexel University
    * University of Pennsylvania
    * Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts
    * Philadelphia University
    * Saint Joseph’s University
    * University of the Sciences in Philadelphia
    * Temple University
    * Thomas Jefferson University
    * University of the Arts
    * La Salle University
    * Moore College of Art and Design
    * Chestnut Hill College
    * Holy Family University
    * Community College of Philadelphia

    Other colleges and univerties located in Greater Philadelphia but outside of Philadelphia proper include:

    * Crozer Theological Seminary, located in Upland, closed in 1970, alma mater of Martin Luther King, Jr.
    * Eastern University, located in St. Davids
    * Bryn Mawr College, located in Bryn Mawr
    * Haverford College, located in Haverford
    * Swarthmore College, located in Swarthmore
    * Villanova University, located in Villanova
    * Cabrini College, located in Wayne
    * Widener University, located in Chester

  9. Anonymous

    Corvallis is a great town, not just for the businesses though. The atmosphere of the whole place is like a very-clean Las Vegas.

    It’s got a party school and alot of people seem to stay after graduating. The whole town is young and semi-wealthy. Real Estate prices have gone up, but not to insane levels. You can get a decent house for 180k.

  10. billy

    Portland, Oregon is an excellent place to live. High tech abound, vibrant economy. People ‘choose’ to live here because of the quality of life, easy commutes, etc.

    Some prefer it to silicon valley and I’d say it’s on par with Austin, TX.

  11. Anonymous

    Man, come to Singapore and I’ll host you for the next three months.

    I might be going to San Frans this Fri for my one week mid term break. Or London. Or New York. Or Sydney. Choices, choices.

    I’m going around the world in Dec, hence I can only host you for 3 months from now.

    But I’ll be taking Financial Journalism next fall in NYU/Columbia. So hope to see you there.

    Btw, I’m Indonesian living in Singapore who has unrestricted entry to the US until 2009.


  12. Anonymous

    Straight out of the lips of John Butler in his UT entrepreneurship class. Mentors really means mentor, I suppose.

    Funny thing is, John may appear and/or be a badass, but his class was a joke. It was called the “Dr. Butler Power Hour” by a fellow student. Putting him on par with a talk-show host might be too kind, at least in the context of that class.

  13. College Guy

    Not sure I’d agree with you mentor(s) on the criteria for a good city for an entrepreneur. It all depends what you’re trying to get into. You want to start a tech/web company then they’re good criteria.

    But as another example, look for cities that have high population growth and you can use your China strategy from a few months ago just as well (start basic businesses that you know people will need – auto body shop, dry cleaners, whatever). Lots of new people, lots of new customers, no strong established brands, etc.

    What about a real estate related business – maybe an executive suite business? High pop. growth again. Demographic specific – home health care? Look for elderly populations.

    Consider what you’re going to try to do and there are all kinds of opportunities. Or better yet, think of what the characteristics and opportunites that exist where you already are.

    One last note: remember that it’s all about margin. An auto body shop I’m involved with does a little under $2 mil. a year in revenue, and nets about $500k of that. Another company I work with, an optical lab (makes glasses) does $20 mil. a year and makes $200k in a good year. So a dry cleaning business as you suggested can be just as good, albeit not as prestigious, as a nationwide software company.

  14. Anonymous

    Actually, I was reading a magazine lately (Entrepreneur? Inc? Money?not sure) and they listed the cities with the most startups per 100,000 people and per capita- Trenton, NJ (1) and Provo(?) Utah came out ahead- I personally like Grand Rapids alot (a well kept secret- but not for business)

  15. Anonymous

    It was “Entreprenteur magazine” it had orange on the cover… I think it was last month’s

    I’m suprised that Portland, OR wasn’t on the list.

  16. longtermer

    One thing that sticks out here is cost of living and, I assume, general business expenses. San Francisco and Boston are obscenely expensive.

  17. ravidgemole

    There is no reason to limit yourself to RT128 in the Boston area. Anywhere in the city or where you have easy access to the T (MBTA’s subway/bus system) will allow you unlimited access.

    There are plenty of large colleges in Boston so if you stay in those areas then there will be that many more chances. For example, I am attending Boston University (Brighton) and there are tons of chances.

    Drop me a line ( if you want any more information about MA.

  18. Andrew

    The Silicon Valley is going to be hell on your pocketbook. Cost of living in the Bay Area and surrounding cities is not conducive to saving money. I recomend you stay away from California and either stay in Austin or a place more affordable that also meets your requirements.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>