Snapshot: Oklahoma City
Pop. with college degree: 27.9 percent
Median home value: $129,300
Median household income: $44,973
Oklahoma City may not receive the buzz generated by the startup communities in California and on the East Coast, but its low cost of living and labor, central location in middle America, good schools and low taxes and regulations have turned it into what looks like an entrepreneurial paradise.
"There's strong access to capital here and an aggressive financial attitude among the banking community to fund new businesses," says Roy Williams, president and CEO of the Oklahoma City Chamber. "And there's a core of entrepreneurs here to help new businesses get off the ground, because they got help back when they started."
If that sounds like a description for any healthy startup community, it is. But Williams points out a subtle difference: "We attract businesses that'd rather be a bigger fish in a smaller pond instead of competing against everyone fighting for attention on the coasts."
The choice, then, is yours: Do you set up shop in a city where rent, taxes and payroll costs exert significant pressure to succeed quickly or run out of cash, or do you move to a place like Oklahoma City (or to one of the other metro areas listed here), where you can buy more time to figure out your strategy and build a sustainable company? Whatever the case, know that you have options.