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The Winner Is . . .

Find out which cities topped our 10th annual list of best cities for entrepreneurs.

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This story appears in the October 2003 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Minneapolis-St. Paul may not be the best place to start a new business, but if you're already in business in the Twin Cities, count your lucky stars. That's the message of D&B and Entrepreneur's 10th annual search for the nation's best cities for entrepreneurs, which placed Minnesota's largest metropolitan area at the top of the national rankings for large cities.

Minneapolis-St. Paul's vault from 15th place in 2002 to lead the entrepreneurial cities this year had some striking characteristics. To begin with, the Twin Cities' Entrepreneurial Activity Score, which measures the number of new business starts, was strictly middle-of-the-road, with 58 out of a possible 100 points. The Twin Cities scored better on Small-Business Growth, with a 96, and Risk, with a 93. These measure growth in employment for existing small businesses and bankruptcy filings, respectively. The area's high rankings on these scores show that its existing small firms are growing well and face little risk of going under, says Nipa Basu, director of statistical consulting for D&B, which compiles the Best Cities data. The Job Growth score, which looks at Bureau of Labor Statistics data on total job growth for businesses of all sizes, measures a city's overall economic health, Basu explains--and that's where Minneapolis-St. Paul really improved, going from a score of 45 last year to 77 this year. "It's not really the emergence of new businesses that put Minneapolis-St. Paul on top," says Basu, "but more the growth and stability of the businesses that are [already] there."

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