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Here Are the Best Cities to Run a Socially-Conscious Startup A new study looks at what makes a social entrepreneur succeed.

By Nina Zipkin

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For many entrepreneurs, it isn't enough to only solve one problem -- they want to change the world. And when launching a business, a social mission embedded in the company's DNA can be a selling point for customers, investors and prospective employees.

But it's one thing to just state your mission, and another to be able to realize it. To that end, a recent study from Halcyon Incubator and Capital One identified some key factors that help socially-minded business owners succeed.

Related: When Should Entrepreneurs Pursue a Social Good?

The researchers found the there are four integral pieces needed to create a social enterprise with longevity: access to all types of funding, a high quality of life in the location where the business is based, a government regulatory system that is helpful and receptive to the idea and a strong bench of employees, mentors and advisors.

In surveying 388 social entrepreneurs around the country, Washington, D.C. is ranked as the number-one U.S. city for social enterprise, followed by San Francisco, Austin, Texas, Boston and Seattle.

Related: Social Entrepreneurship Has Unexpected Benefits for the Bottom Line

Forty-seven percent of the participants said that they selected a city to start their business because they were already living there. But the researchers also found a link between the quality of life of the locale and the caliber of employee and mentors available, noting that areas that were home to a lot of universities -- such as northern California and the Boston area -- often met both of those criteria.

New York was ranked number one for access to funding and Austin had the best overall quality of life. Washington, D.C., had the highest rating for a regulatory environment, while 76 percent of Boston entrepreneurs said that they considered the city's government to be helpful to social entrepreneurs in terms of access and ease of use. Only 42 percent of San Francisco entrepreneurs said the same. And while San Francisco's government was among the lowest ranked, the researchers awarded the city the top rating for human capital.
Nina Zipkin

Entrepreneur Staff

Staff Writer. Covers leadership, media, technology and culture.

Nina Zipkin is a staff writer at Entrepreneur.com. She frequently covers leadership, media, tech, startups, culture and workplace trends.

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