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Southeast top for startups

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  • | 6:19 a.m. March 27, 2014
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Head to Cape Coral for the cheapest office space to start a new business.

But for the best overall shot at business success, better go north and east, about 325 miles, to Jacksonville. That's the No. 1 city nationwide for entrepreneurs who seek to start a new business, according to WalletHub, a personal finance social network. The WalletHub study analyzed 14 business metrics, from the five-year survival rate and cost of living to labor pool availability and office space affordability. The survey looked at those factors in the 150 most populated U.S. cities.

WalletHub balanced history with some rosy projections on Jacksonville. “'Where Florida begins' just so happens to be where small business begins these days, as Florida's largest city boasts the country's second-highest five-year small business survival rate as well as attractive corporate tax rates, a bountiful labor force and fairly accessible small business funding,” the survey states. “Jacksonville's high ranking as an entrepreneurial destination mirrors expectations for strong growth throughout the city's economy in 2014, buoyed by hiring in the construction and professional services industries as well as a burgeoning startup community.”

The only other Florida city in the top 10 on the WalletHub list is Cape Coral, the Lee County community ravaged by the economic downturn. The key there is cheap office space: $11.28 per square foot, according to WalletHub. That's cheaper than Toledo, Ohio, at $11.40 per square foot; Springfield, Mo., $11.71; Colorado Springs, Colo., $11.92; and Akron, Ohio, $12.32. Cape Coral didn't make the top five of any other metric broken out by WalletHub.

The rest of the WalletHub top 25 is dominated by the Southeast, including Memphis, Fayetteville, N.C., Augusta, Ga. and Port St. Lucie, at No. 13. Grand Rapids, Mich. is the only city in the top 25 from a Midwest or Northeast state. The bottom 25 on the list is loaded with California cities, 14 in total, from Los Angeles to Long Beach.
Tampa ranked 32nd on the WalletHub list, while St. Petersburg was 61st.


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