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What Do Entrepreneurs Really Want from a City?

Mark Marich

A number of rankings and indices come out each year touting a top ten list of cities to start and scale a business based on different factors -- all deemed to be important to high-growth entrepreneurs. But did anyone ask the entrepreneurs? 

Endeavor Insight did -- and found that it wasn't anything about tax rates or regulatory environments. Instead, it is all about access to talented employees, customers and suppliers -- and once those startups set down roots, they rarely tend to move. 

Endeavor Insight, which along with the Kauffman Foundation recently launched the Global Entrepreneurship Research Network, released a report that addresses the question “What Do the Best Entrepreneurs Want In A City?” With research culled from surveys and interviews with 150 founders of some of the fastest-growing companies in the U.S., the report offers some important takeaways for policymakers. 

More than 30% of survey respondents identified access to talented people as their primary factor in determining where to start and scale their firms. In comparison, tax rates were only cited by 5% of survey respondents and business-friendly regulations by 2%. 

Why is this information so important to policymakers? Because it seems they only have one crack at it. Of the 150 high-growth entrepreneurs surveyed, 131 have kept their startups located in the cities where they launched. 

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