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Should I Start My New Business in Tampa?

By Christina Sturgis

Birthing a business takes brains, determination and luck. Does the Tampa Bay region have the atmosphere to nurture an enterprise in its formative years?

Wallet Hub issued a report recently ranking Tampa 32nd of 150 cities for starting a business, but nearby St. Petersburg ranked much lower, 61st. The analysts favored regions with low costs for office space, employee salaries, real estate and general living expenses.

Other factors are the corporate tax structure, employee availability, length of workday, existing entrepreneurial activity, the five-year business survival rate, the proportion of businesses to population, the variety of industries and the overall welcoming attitude toward small business.

The Sunshine State is very well represented on the list. Cape Coral is 9th, Tallahassee is 3rd, Orlando is 37th, Miami is 57th, Fort Lauderdale is 86th and Hialeah is 108th on the list of 150 cities, which begins with top-ranked Jacksonville and ends with Newark, N.J.

Paul Mason, professor of economics at the University of North Florida, said Jacksonville has a lot to offer those wanting to start a new business.

“With a relatively low tax climate, a workforce that reveals an entrepreneurial spirit, and sizable support from the Chamber of Commerce, the SB, and an excellent Small Business Development Center at the University of North Florida, local First Coast residents have developed and staffed an ever increasing number of small businesses in industries including restaurants, bars, shops and other retail and wholesale establishments,” Mason said.

He said other Jacksonville advantages include the proximity to the Port of Jacksonville, the Naval Air Station and the Mayport Naval Base.

Florida’s tax structure was recently lauded by the Tax Foundation, which ranked the Sunshine State fifth on its list of business-friendly states. The list of 50 began with Wyoming and ended with New Jersey at 49th and New York in last place.

[Last modified: Monday, July 7, 2014 5:00pm]


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