A new report assessing trends in start-up companies in 40 major metropolitan areas in the U.S. over the past two decades has found that the Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk corridor has performed well compared with similar regions in weathering, and rebounding from, the national economic downturn’s impact on the level of start-ups.
The report by the Kauffman Foundation, “The Most Entrepreneurial Metropolitan Area?,” was recently presented to the U.S. Conference of Mayors on Entrepreneurship, the first such conference of municipal leaders devoted solely to exploring entrepreneurship.
In reviewing Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSA) with a population of between 500,000 and one million people, the report found that the Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk MSA placed “toward the top of the group, consistently above the year-to-year changes.” In addition, the data indicate that Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk “did not fall as far during the (economic) downturn, so it appears to have fared slightly better.”
The paper compared the trends in the 40 metropolitan areas with high numbers of start-up businesses to the significant national downward trend in overall new firm formation starting after 2006. Nationally, the trend reversed and started to recover in 2011. No metropolitan area escaped this downward trend, but there are differences among regions in the timing of the downturn and subsequent recovery.
In counting the number of times that the annual percentage change in start-up density for each of the MSA’s, within the same size class, five of the MSA’s – including Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk – were “above average 12 times thorough the period” reviewed. The others to attain that “level of consistency” were Tulsa, OK; Omaha-Council Bluffs, NE-IA; Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway, AR; and Knoxville, TN.
The report also found that the largest MSAs – those with populations greater than 1 million – fared slightly better through the recession and have experienced slightly stronger recoveries, though none has returned to pre-downturn levels.
The report compared MSAs with relatively larger populations and high startup densities from among the nation’s 366 MSAs. The MSAs were divided into four groups for purposes of comparison, those with greater than 1 million population, those with 500,001 to 1 million, those between 250,000 and 500,000, and those smaller than 250,000.
The federal government’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB) provides official definitions for MSAs in the United States: densely populated areas with close economic ties.