The 10 Best Cities for Young Entrepreneurs in the U.S.

Smaller cities beat out the big hubs in this year’s study of the U.S. cities with the youngest entrepreneurs.


3 min read


Starting your own business is often seen as a pipe dream for people in the early stages of their careers — something they do when they’re older and have more financial stability. But some of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs, among them Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Jobs, started their companies when they were teenagers or in their early twenties. Some serial entrepreneurs tell stories of the companies they started as kids; startup savvy  has been one of their defining characteristics since they were young. 

If you’re a young entrepreneur interested in starting a business, one of the first things you’ll likely think about is where to headquarter it. Where are tax policies business-friendly? Where is the cost of living low? Where is there an abundance of skilled workers? It can be difficult to find a city that hits all the marks, but increasingly young people are turning away from big markets like San Francisco and New York to headquarter their companies in smaller cities. 

Related: 8 Cities Whose Entrepreneurship Communities Are Booming

Interested in doing the same thing? LendingTree, an online source for entrepreneurs seeking loans to start their businesses, recently released a report on the cities with the youngest entrepreneurs. Its researchers looked at data around the age of people seeking funding and their age when they started their companies. The report only looks at the top 50 metro areas in the country, but its results provide some valuable insight to young entrepreneurs. What cities made the list? Below is the ranking of the 10 cities with the youngest entrepreneurs. 

  1. New Orleans

  2. Salt Lake City

  3. Philadelphia

  4. Milwaukee

  5. Hartford, Conn. 

  6. Columbus, Ohio

  7. Oklahoma City

  8. Minneapolis

  9. Providence, R.I. 

  10. Boston

With an average entrepreneur age of 37 (the national average is 39), New Orleans beat out Salt Lake City and Philadelphia to claim the top spot this year. An impressive 55 percent of business founders in New Orleans are millennials, the highest percentage on the list. Louisville, Ky., which came in 13th on the list, has the highest percentage of Gen Z founders at 7.3 percent of its total numbers.  

Related: Why Smart Cities Are a Golden Opportunity for Entrepreneurs

In the infographic from LendingTree below, read more about the study, the top three cities and the six things you should look for in a city before starting your business there.

Related: The Top Cities for Minority Entrepreneurs (Infographic)



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