Only one Connecticut community is ranked in the top 700 “best small cities to start a business” in a new survey of 1,260 cities across the nation. Danbury, ranked at number 170, was the sole Connecticut city to earn a slot among the nation’s business-friendly small cities. The next Connecticut municipalities on the list were Torrington, ranked at number 749, and East Hartford, at number 775. To determine the best small cities in which to start a business, the financial website WalletHub’s analysts compared across three key dimensions: 1) business environment, 2) access to resources and 3) business costs. Included were cities with a population of between 25,000 and 100,000 residents.
Among Connecticut municipalities, also reaching the top 1,000 nationwide were East Hartford (775), Bristol (836), Westport (861), West Hartford (876), and Shelton (919).
The Danbury city website highlights that “assets and resources include a pro-business climate, a creative, educated and talented workforce, an excellent education system, transportation advantages, a superior quality of life and much more.” The website highlights a Danbury business each week.
"We analyzed 21 Connecticut cities and out of these, Danbury ranked the highest at 170," said WalletHub analyst Jill Gonzalez. "Although it offers a strong business environment, the city has high business costs overall. Most of the cities (14 of them) ranked below the 1,000 rank because these fail to offer a thriving business environment, with little access to the resources needed to start a business as well as restrictive labor costs."
The analysis evaluated each of the three key dimensions using 16 relevant metrics. Each metric was graded on a 100-point scale, with a score of 100 representing the most favorable conditions for launching a business. “ A city with a smaller population can offer a greater chance of success, depending on an entrepreneur’s type of business and personal preferences,” WalletHub points out.
The business environment category (50 points) includes average length of work week, average growth in number of small businesses, number of startups per capita, average revenue per business, average growth of business revenues and industry variety. The access to resources category (25 points) includes financing accessibility, human resource availability, higher education assets, working age population growth and workforce educational attainment. The business costs category includes office space affordability, labor costs, corporate taxes, and cost of living.
Also earning a slot on the “Best Small Cities to Start a Business” list were East Haven (1,004), Norwich (1,014), New London (1,015), New Britain (1,022), West Haven (1,026), Wethersfield (1,028), Newington (1,032), Milford (1,053), Stratford (1,060), Norwalk (1,063), Meriden (1,079), Middletown (1,117), Naugatuck (1,185) and Trumbull (1,239).
Data used to create the ranking were collected from the U.S. Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, AreaVibes, Yelp, Indeed, U.S. News & World Report, Tax Foundation and LoopNet, according to WalletHub.
The top small cities for business in the U.S., according to the analysis, were Holland, MI; Carbondale, IL; Springville, UT; East Chicago, IN; Jefferson City, MO; Wilson, NC; Enid, OK, Rio Rancho, NM; Clearfield, UT and Cheyenne, WY. The top ranked city in New England was East Providence, RI, ranked at number 38.