Austin can't be beat when it comes to small business.
American City Business Journals has unveiled its nationwide ranking of the best cities in the U.S. to start a small business, and Austin came in No. 1. The enormous economic growth of the region is well documented and easy to see day to day but our new package is a bird's-eye view of just how far we've come.
As I detailed in this week's cover story, a number of factors led to the Austin area ranking atop the list, from nation-leading growth in the number of small businesses based here to a surge in the city's economic output.
The list was compiled by G. Scott Thomas, researcher for ACBJ, parent company of the Austin Business Journal. He looked at the country's 106 largest metros and ranked them based on how they nurture the creation and development of small businesses. For the ranking, Thomas defined small business as a company with one to 99 employees and he used data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. See the complete listing below.
Here are some fast takeaways:
9.7 percent — that was the growth in the number of small businesses based in Austin from 2010-2013, which led the nation by a big margin (Provo, Utah, came in second at 6.8 percent);
Austin had 44,163 small businesses in 2013 — that's 2,342 for every 100,000 residents;
The city's gross metropolitan product (a scaled-down version of gross domestic product, measuring all goods and services produced here) grew 18.2 percent from 2011-2014, second in the nation behind only Dallas;
The share of jobs in the private sector labor market provided by small businesses was 35.1 percent in 2012.
Despite recent worries about city regulations and wider threats such as worsening traffic and the housing affordability crisis, the new ranking speaks to Austin's continued economic vitality. It's also a warning to leaders that such prosperity could easily stall if the most-pressing issues are not handled correctly.