3 Surprising Cities for Small Business Success
"Atlanta has a long history of being very friendly to business. This is really putting a bow around a lot of programs and initiatives that are already exciting, but to really try to tell the world Atlanta is a place where entrepreneurs are welcome," McGowan says. "We felt very strongly this is a way to create Atlanta's next chapter."
"Omaha probably is not as well-known as a lot of the other large to mid-sized cities out there," says David Brown, executive director of the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce. "We have this really interesting mix of businesses that work together that have a common vision to make this a great place for businesses."
For instance, it is unusual to have a Fortune 500 CEO commiserate with a small print shop, but that's exactly what goes on in the Omaha business community, Brown says.
"We realize we can be really successful creating big business as long as we pay attention now to the environment for creating small business. Our big businesses are some of our biggest supporters of the small business community," he says.
Another strong benefit to Omaha is its strong economy -- one that surely helped it withstand the recession. "Our economy continued to grow during the recession.
Brown emphasizes that part of the reason the area was shielded from the recession was its diverse economic base -- insurance and financial services, engineering, construction, health care, military, food services and transportation, to name a few -- industries that were able to offset each other. He specifically highlighted engineering, telecommunications and medical specialties as industries that particularly thrived in the area.
Three years ago, the chamber began an aggressive effort to increase the number of successful startups in Omaha. The chamber had a goal of creating 60 successful companies over a period of five years. With two years left, it has already met three-quarters of that goal.
"What we're trying to find here are companies that have a fit for the kinds of suppliers that we need here to grow our existing businesses and tap into the existing labor market," Brown says.