Entrepreneurs and small business owners around the world are constantly on the lookout to find the right location to launch their dreams. The key is to find the right city to make those dreams come to fruition with the right mix of opportunities, manageable regulatory environments, and general amenities that bring a balance to work and life.
Many of the larger cities worldwide offer much in terms of business and investment opportunities alongside a healthy dose of cultural and meaningful free time. Based on opportunities available; salaries and cost of living; and, amenities, here’s a look at the top five destinations to plant startup seeds, while helping it and your personal life grow.
With a steady population growth of 33 percent since 1990, Bloomington ranks at the very top in terms of hours worked per employee (Source: Indiana University research). Commute times are also at a minimum; a progressive city that is home to Indiana University Bloomington, the state’s largest university and employer in the region.
According to Forbes.com, the average of weekly hours worked in Bloomington is 31.9 hours, the median income is $35,908 and the average commute takes just 15.2 minutes. With time to spare away from work, residents enjoy year round entertainment including hiking, fishing, boating, and festivals during warmer months, shifting to museums, theaters and art during the cooler ones.
London is, well, London. It boasts centuries of history and culture, and now is considered one of the world’s largest startup hubs, according to Entrepreneurial Insights. Many companies have made London their home in recent years, from technology firms to modeling agencies. Being one of the larger financial centers across the globe, there is a great deal of investment opportunity to be secured for fledgling startups. Europe, in general, is a hotspot for technology, eagerly looking for the next big breakthrough.
Meanwhile, “the legal requirements to operate in the European market are not as murky as it is in some of the world’s countries.” (Source: Entrepreneurial Insights) The red tape and endless paperwork are kept to a minimum, so startup founders can focus on what’s most important.
As a city, London has more to offer than one can imagine. From classical art to historical architecture, it nourishes the souls of those who crave genuine art. For those who prefer more modern culture, this city has plenty to go around. The only downside to London is the cost of living. According to Workgateway, “Living in the UK – particularly London, England – is expensive compared to many places in the World.” However, keeping the belt tight for a few years and watching your business grow will bring the rewards.
The work-life balance in Provo boasts the lowest average work week at just 30.9 hours. According to Forbes.com, with smart city planning, the average commute time is just 18 minutes and average earnings sit at $32,418. The third largest private university in the country, Brigham Young University, is one of the city’s top employers. Although Provo is technically a college town, the city’s attractions and landmarks include museums and a 42,000 square foot performing arts venue, Covey Center for the Arts, featuring entertainment offered throughout the year.
U.S. tech companies are making their way across the northern border to Vancouver. “In addition to great views in a convenient time zone, Vancouver offers U.S. tech companies world-class talent, lower salaries and few immigration headaches. Each year the U.S. government grants as many as 85,000 H-1B visas for highly skilled workers. In the last two years, it received so many applications that it stopped taking them after five days and held a lottery,” according to SFGate.com. Since immigration laws are less stringent in Canada, startups can seek the talent they need from anywhere in the world, and bring them into a Vancouver office effortlessly.
As a city, Vancouver is a mix of people and culture like no other. Once the work day is done, there is no end to leisure and entertainment activities. Summer brings residents outdoors for a variety of park and mountain-side activities. As an easy to reach port, and one of the more cosmopolitan of cities, it is easy to see why Vancouver is considered one of the most startup savvy cities worldwide.
While smaller in size when compared to Sydney, Melbourne is shaping up to be an entrepreneurial hotspot. “The city of Melbourne is famous for its food, its fashion and its football, squeezing all manner of things into every calendar year, with no shortage of activities for tourists and locals alike. Since the mid 1990s, Melbourne has experienced significant population and employment growth, and there has been substantial investment in the city’s industries and property market.” (Source: StartupSmart.au) Loaded with entrepreneurs who not only have become successful, but have opted to share their success by reinvesting into newer startups, Melbourne is the perfect place to launch and grow a new business.
The startup environment is ripe with a marketplace hungry for innovation. For example, Melbourne University sponsors a Student Entrepreneurs group that makes startups a household name. There is nothing new or scary about startups in this city. The infrastructure supports it, as do consumers. Outside the workplace, Melbourne offers activities and attractions for the outdoor types as well as city dwellers. Another cosmopolitan metropolis, it offers high-end cuisine to hard core rock concerts – something for everyone.
This article has been edited and condensed.
Simon Crompton is a freelance journalist and entrepreneur, who spends the majority of his time blogging about business startups and consulting on web development. He has launched multiple online companies. He is also a dedicated follower of fashion, and has written for the Financial Times and GQ. Connect with @PermanentStle on Twitter.
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