Just like people, cities have their own distinct personalities. They come with their own set of strengths, weaknesses, quirks and attraction. Some are good at logistics and structure; others are creative and free-thinking. Bottom line: It takes all kinds to make the economy go round.
Rather than publish a dry inventory of the top 50 metros by export volume, Global Trade magazine has put together a “Who’s Who” list of sorts based on these top cities and the traits that set them apart in the global market.
Cities for Entrepreneurs, Techies
The award for Most Entrepreneurial went to Charlotte, NC, which ranks No. 43 in its export volume. Not only has Charlotte attracted nearly 7,000 new firms over the past decade (translating into 57,000 new jobs), it’s also known for its incentives, including electric and gas utility discounts, fast-track permitting and available grants.
But lately it is becoming even better known for creating an inviting environment for entrepreneurs. Start-ups and early-stage companies can find plenty of support through entrepreneurship programs, small business centers and incubators as well as assistance opening business in foreign markets.
Ranking No. 31 in its export volume, Austin, TX landed the coveted Most Likely to Succeed Award for its business-friendliness, record job growth and up-and-coming reputation as a tech hotbed.
A major ace in its corner? Lone Star State’s low-tax structure, which has zero corporate or individual income tax, tax breaks for businesses hiring and providing health care, and many more incentives. Austin’s tech boom is rivaling that of Silicon Valley, with Apple recently expanding its campus and eBay also growing there, together creating nearly 5,000 high-paying new jobs. Thanks to Austin’s eclectic arts and cultural scene and its “Live Music Capital of the World” designation, the city has no trouble attracting young intellects to fill those jobs.
Coming in at No. 32 for its export strength, Greenville, SC snagged the trophy for Best-Kept Secret, partly because of its proximity to universities like Clemson and the University of South Carolina, but also because of its sophisticated transportation system. Companies shipping products and goods have access to three interstates and freight lines and five ports, including the Port of Charleston.
Innovation is part of the landscape in Greenville, which is home to GE Energy as well as other cool companies and high-tech manufacturers.
Other winners were …
Best Logistics Infrastructure: Memphis, TN.
Most Improved: Detroit, MI
Best Quality of Life: San Diego, CA
Best Proximity to Universities: Los Angeles, CA
Best Cost Structure: Cincinnati, OH
Best Incentives: Milwaukee, WI
King of the Hill (aka, Best All Around): Indianapolis, IN
See any other unique cities on the list? What distinction would you give them? Please share your thoughts below.