Hot Cities

Corpus Christi (1998)

Call it a Texas way of thinking, but it looks a lot like an enterprising and entrepreneurial attitude. When leaders of Corpus Christi, this year's number-one midsized Central city, witnessed the decline of the city's oil and gas industries in the 1980s, hardly a moment passed before they decided to implement efforts to diversify the city's industrial base. Today, small businesses in the tourism and service sectors, as well as those taking advantage of procurement and subcontracting opportunities in the large medical, petrochemical and military industries, can thank those leaders for the thriving Corpus Christi economy.

Small businesses in Corpus Christi can take advantage of Texas' lack of state income or corporate taxes, as well as the international opportunities waiting at the city's Gulf port. To encourage international commerce, the port has been set up as a duty-free zone, and the Corpus Christi Small Business Development Center coaches small businesses on how to do business internationally.

In 1994, several local organizations, including the chamber of commerce and the Corpus Christi Bay Area Economic Development Corp., united under The Greater Corpus Christi Business Alliance. The alliance is comprised of local business, academic and political leaders who address problems within the small-business sector.

Labor shortages are countered with programs such as Smart Jobs, a job-training program subsidized by the state. The city's infrastructure has stayed up to date with an international airport and several interstate highways connecting Corpus Christi with the rest of the nation. With these factors coming into play, Corpus Christi is ready, willing and able to become an international business center.

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This article was originally published in the October 1998 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Hot Cities.

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