Slicker Cities

No. 1 City: Dallas (2001)

There's something in the air, water and even the soil that invites businesses to Dallas. Entrepreneurs would be the first to agree--their growth rates helped propel Dallas to the top of our list this year, after receiving respectable top 20 finishes in recent years.

When entrepreneurs arrive, they'll find a well-trained labor force, leadership that reaches out to businesses, and a city whose location, international airport and extensive highway network make it an excellent base for doing business in Latin America. Capital flows more easily here than in many cities, thanks to a number of small-business-friendly national banks as well as a boom in local bank startups over the past five years.

Telecommunications, high-tech, energy, real estate and restaurants top the list of Dallas' hot industries. And though some tech companies have taken a beating, laid-off tech workers aren't rolling over. They're starting businesses--sending first-quarter 2001 startup stats through the roof.

While there's a sweet smell of success in the air, Dallas, like every rose, has its thorn. Bankruptcies are relatively high, says Jan Rowland of Dun & Bradstreet, but the impact is tempered by high economic and small-business growth rates.

Economically depressed South Dallas would not call these boom times, but there are programs on tap designed to help the south catch up. The Trinity River Corridor Project, which some expect to spearhead a construction boom, includes development of 20 miles of waterfront property in South Dallas into parks and recreational outlets. Construction on Highway 635 and the development of a commuter rail system will connect suburban North Dallas with its poorer southern sibling, which should enable the job-starved to more easily reach labor-starved entrepreneurs.

-Cynthia E. Griffin
For a complete listing of the top cities and profiles of our number-one hot spots, click here.

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This article was originally published in the October 2001 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Slicker Cities.

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