Why are entrepreneurs so devoted to Salt Lake City? Perhaps because it's one of the key high-tech centers in the United States and benefits from a state economy considered to be the nation's strongest. It also boasts the lowest rate of unemployment and one of the lowest costs of living. And the tourism industry--which capitalizes on the state's numerous national parks, ideal setting for winter sports, and the upcoming 2002 Winter Olympics--is a hotbed for small businesses.
Government officials are starting to back small business with programs such as the Utah Business Resource Network, which pulls together state and federal agencies and programs that support small-business development. Meanwhile, the traditionally cash-poor city has witnessed a recent influx of venture capitalists and financial institutions. Numerous agencies, development corporations and counseling centers are geared toward supporting entrepreneurship.
Despite these advantages, the city faces some growing pains: An unemployment rate of 3.4 percent has created a squeeze on the labor market. Traffic has started to clog up. And housing costs, traditionally affordable, increased 50 percent between 1992 and 1995.
Most residents look forward to a brief period of more moderate growth so they can catch their breath, allow infrastructure issues to catch up to the city's rapid expansion, and continue flourishing in what economists predict to be five to seven years of unabated growth.