In some cities, the do-it-yourself business ethic may spring from a ruined economy. In others, small-business booms were carefully engineered by long-term government policies, or developed as a byproduct of rapid growth. Whatever the case, you’ll know it when you step into an entrepreneurial city: There’s an openness and energy that permeates the whole culture, an infectious enthusiasm throughout the small-business community, and a faith that any problem can be overcome through dedication and smart decisions. Here are 10 cities we think embody the entrepreneurial spirit–and some of the entrepreneurs that power them to greatness.
The Coordinator: Orlando, Florida
Orlando may be the house the mouse built, but a long stretch of intergovernmental and private cooperation is what turned the city into one of the most highly coordinated entrepreneurial engines in the country. The area sidestepped the development turf wars that often hobble other metro areas, instead relying on a strategy of enthusiastic cooperation to power growth. A lot of the heavy lifting is done by the Disney Entrepreneur Center, a one-stop shop where government and private agencies mentor budding small-business owners and direct them to the right resources. Over the next five years, Orlando is scheduled to pump $1 billion into its downtown, an endeavor that’s going to need many hands to feed it. But the city is ready for the challenge. “Our first ace is that we have civic leadership that is entrepreneurially supportive,” says Jerry Ross, executive director of the Entrepreneur Center. “We have a digital media cluster starting downtown, a medical city that is taking shape–we’re part of a high-tech corridor. We’re not recruiting companies from out of state. We’re engaged in economic gardening: We want to carefully grow what we already have.”
Source: Entrepreneur Magazine; to read the full story and to learn about the other nine cities in the Top 10, visit the Web site.
To learn more about UCF’s Business Incubation Programs, visit the UCF Web site.