The financial website Wallet Hub announced on Tuesday that Missoula is one of the top 15 small cities in the U.S. in which to open a small business.

Analyst Jill Gonzalez explained the announcement.

“Missoula ranks pretty well here in terms of starting a small business; in fact, it ranks in the top 15,” said Gonzalez. “That's out of over 1,300 small cities, so it’s a much larger sample size than normal, so a top 15 I would say is even better here. Missoula also did especially well when it comes to its overall business environment.”

Gonzalez said Missoula is attractive for those who want start a business here as well as those who might want to relocate.

“Yeah, absolutely to relocate or even start a business,” she said. “You know, a lot of a lot of these metrics have to do with really starting a new business, and startups per capita growth of business revenues; how easy it is to get people to back it, so all of those things definitely helped Missoula out here.”

Gonzalez said Missoula is in good company with other small cities in the mountain west.

“Some of the other best small cities for starting a business are not too far away,” she said. “St. George, Cedar City and Washington, all in Utah were in the top five, as well as some other places in North Dakota and South Dakota. Some of the worst places are definitely bigger name cities; places like New York City, Boston, a lot of places in the northeast and in California.”

Casting a bit of a shadow over the news for Missoula is that the number 10 city…was Bozeman.

“Bozeman did very well as well, as it in the top 10, in fact it’s Right at number 10,” she said. “Bozeman did even better in terms of that business environment and also a little bit better when it comes to access to resources, and what we mean by that is everything from financing accessibility to the working age, population growth, to the higher education asset.”

To determine the most business-friendly small markets in the U.S., Wallet Hub compared more than 1,300 cities with fewer than 100,000 residents across 20 key metrics. The data set ranges from small business growth rates and accessibility of financing to investor access and labor costs.

(photo courtesy of Erica Burkhalter)

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