A short list of cities young entrepreneurs should check out.

For young entrepreneurs, their environment can be definitive of how their business or startup does—it can make or break their business ventures. The young entrepreneur of today is no longer looking for the same thing that was sought after in generations passed, and this can be reflected in the cities they have flocked to in recent years. For those still at the beginning stages of their careers, it’s important that they find an environment that can foster the type of like-minded support they need to achieve optimal success on their journey to startup success.

San Francisco, California


Home to Silicon Valley—a ground zero for innovative and groundbreaking technology—San Francisco is considered among the best cities for young entrepreneurs in 2018 because it’s shaped to foster business growth. Tech giant Apple was founded in Cupertino, a city nestled in the south San Francisco Bay Area, and has no doubt contributed to the area’s reputation as a hotspot for success. Some of the most historic startups—such as Twitter and Facebook—also grew here. It was actually ranked as the second best city in the U.S. for millennials to live in, which make sense when one takes into account the fact that it has everything a young entrepreneur would want. You’ll want to save up for this move, cost of living is notoriously high.


First, there’s the breathtaking sights: the Golden Gate Bridge, the beautiful Pacific Ocean, the wine country and its mountain ranges, redwood groves, and beachfront hangouts that span for miles. The weather is also nothing to frown at, with an overall climate the hovers around 60 degrees year-round, the environment is always appropriate for outdoor adventures. All of this is nourishing for the young entrepreneur who seeks opportunity to carry a healthy outdoor lifestyle. It’s also a way for them to have an outlet for fun—the city’s nightlife is also bustling. The cuisine is top-notch. San Francisco has plenty of forward-thinking food options that emphasize vegetarian and vegan options. The millennial generation is big on vegan. Around 12 percent of millennials consider themselves faithful vegetarians—which includes a portion of young entrepreneurs.


Then there’s the change in employment which increased by 3.3 percent between 2015 and 2016, and a labor force that was 2.5 million strong in 2017. Additionally, 50 percent of adults in San Francisco at least have their bachelor’s degrees, meaning there’s plenty of promise for an educated environment to be nurtured.

Austin/Round Rock, Texas

Favorable Cost of Living

Rich in culture, the city that has become known as the host of an array of festivals—such as South By Southwest, the annual music, film, and technology conference—has evolved into a trendy and quirky community that offers plenty of space to grow for young entrepreneurs. Austin/Round Rock’s cost of living is below the national average, meaning young entrepreneurs have more money to channel into their business while also allowing a bigger budget for leisure. As a hub for sights, art, music, and cinema, Austin/Round Rock has earned itself the reputation of being an area of equal parts culture and innovation. Considered the third-fastest growing metropolitan area in the country, Austin/Round Rock is located in a state with relatively low business tax burdens.

“The city has earned a reputation for attracting young, talented business people because we work hard to keep light regulatory touch and low tax rates. It’s one of the reasons we continue to grow, but grow in a smart, strategic way,” said Laurie Hadley, City Manager of Round Rock.

Lively and Intelligent

The Austin/Round Rock area also houses the 50,000 students that attend the University of Texas at Austin. The large presence of college students keeps the area both energetic and educated, with over a third of its population having at least a bachelor degree. With all it has to offer for young entrepreneurs, it’s no wonder Austin was also named the 8th best city in the country.

Seattle, Washington

Lots of Headquarters

As far as the best cities for young entrepreneurs in 2018 goes, San Francisco is far from being the only tech hub in the nation. Seattle is home to technology giants Microsoft and Amazon, as well as RedFin—a fast growing real estate tech company. It’s also home to the headquarters for Expedia, Starbucks, and Nordstrom. Emerald City is a place where young entrepreneurs will find opportunity to grow their experience and business. Apart from the large companies they house, the city has plenty of startup space. Seattle is a west coast city that fosters business growth, and startups in particular, flourish.

“Seattle historically is a place that attracts pioneers to come and do their own thing,” said Maud Daudon, CEO of the Seattle Metro Chamber of Commerce, when referring to the effect the entrepreneurial spirit of the city has on those who chose to call Seattle their home. It makes sense that its population is expected to grow by 200,000 in the next two decades.

Lots of Venture Capital

The University of Washington and its surrounding community colleges offer a place for young entrepreneurs to get their start with the university boasting a total enrollment of just over 46,000 students. While Seattle may not offer tax incentives for those looking to start a business, it does have a large amount of venture capital firms and economic development ventures to choose from when looking for ways to launch a startup or develop a small business. Its rich history in music and trendy restaurants has also made this city a hotspot for millenials.

Portland, Oregon

Idea Exchange

Among the best cities for young entrepreneurs in 2018 is the city that Forbes magazine gave the top spot in their 2017 ranking of the Best Places for Business and Careers. Portland was also ranked by WalletHub as seventh best city, out of 182 cities in the U.S., for employment in 2018. Rip City is also home to about 150,000 college students, which makes it an ideal place for exchanging business ideas.

Talent Pool

Those seeking to launch their own business or startups will find plenty of grads and undergrads ready to help in the process. It’s a promising city; even Google opened its first office in Portland last year and, in doing so, joined the ranks of eBay, Salesforce, and Hewlett-Packard. The recent boom has even lead the city to have been given the nickname “Silicon Forest,” especially considering how much lower the cost of living is in Portland when compared to the San Francisco Bay Area.

“We are getting more tech entrepreneurs and people moving from California because the cost of living, relatively speaking, is much lower here. Early pioneers are calling friends and saying, ‘This is where you want to be,’” said Sandra McDonough, President and CEO of Portland Business Alliance.


Much of this can also be credited to venture capital funding hitting $283.4 million—the highest in five years—in 2015, wrote Kate Rogers of CNBC. Apart from its promise to help businesses thrive, the city earned its reputation as the greenest city in America years ago. This is an obvious draw for young entrepreneurs looking to stay healthy both mentally and physically by connecting with nature. A city so innovative in its quest to be the greenest it can be is a major draw for young entrepreneurs seeking the same type of success for their business.

New York, New York


The city that never sleeps—New York City has been a beacon for business and promise since its inception. Its reputation spans across the globe as it’s home to both the New York Stock Exchange and the Nasdaq. This means the city is bustling with the money, a valuable component for startups. Ranked the 11th best city in the U.S. for millennials to live in, New York City is the most populous in the country, with over 8.5 million people calling the city their home. It is not hard to see why the young entrepreneur is drawn to the city. The Big Apple is an extremely diverse environment that is alive with opportunity and second chances.

“There is a major social scene in the city where it reigns with the most bars in the country and also countless festivals, meet-ups, and social activities,” according to IncFile.

Entrepreneur Friendly

Such a vast amount of opportunity for socializing means there is more than enough chance to network, and as a young entrepreneur, making connections is one of the biggest tools in advancing your business. This is something that has been supported throughout the years as both Mayor Bloomberg and Mayor Blasio have enacted policies to support entrepreneurship. This city is indeed alive with all the lifestyle, culture, and promise a young entrepreneur needs to succeed.