Holland and Grand Rapids Named Top Places for Business

By Jane Whitttington on May 31st, 2016 / Comments

WalletHub, a personal finance website which also features research reports and surveys, may be based in Washington, D.C., but they are bullish on West Michigan as a prime market for new businesses. Their recent feature on the best small cities to launch new business gave the number one spot to Holland, on the Lake Michigan shoreline. And a similar list of the best large cities for entrepreneurs had Grand Rapids coming in as number two, second only to Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

Business environment, access to resources, and business costs are the three main categories by which cities are judged.

Both large and small cities are assessed using the same standards which include most accessible funding; highest employee availability; most educated workforce; cheapest office space; highest average growth in the number of small businesses; highest number of start-ups per capita; highest average revenue per business; and most industry variety.

Both articles include a panel of experts, academics and business leaders, who answer similar questions. For the small cities, the experts weigh in on the following questions:

  • What are the pros and cons of starting a business in a small city?
  • Would some types of small businesses do better than others in a small city?
  • What are some tips for entrepreneurs looking to start a business in a small city?
  • How can local authorities encourage entrepreneurship?

For large cities, the experts answer these questions:

  • What tips you have for aspiring entrepreneurs?
  • How important is the city an entrepreneur picks to start a new company?
  • What are some of the biggest mistakes entrepreneurs make?
  • Besides technology, what other sector is ripe for development by entrepreneurs?
  • What is the best source of funding for new companies?
  • What is the most effective way state and local authorities can stimulate entrepreneurship and new business development?

While the individual cities may not rank number one in any particular category, their aggregates scores are what determines their places on the lists.

Rick Baker, President and CEO of the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce, says, “We are always pleased to be ranked nationally, particularly when the listing reflects a positive economic story. Grand Rapids has a track record of success for small and family businesses. There is something in the culture that encourages entrepreneurs, and there is a supportive community that helps entrepreneurs achieve success.”

Jane Clark, President of the Westcoast Chamber of Commerce in Holland, says, “It is certainly an honor to be named the best small city to start a business, but it is not a surprise. Our thriving business community has a long history of visionary entrepreneurs building successful companies-a legacy that continues today. The spirit of the entrepreneur is celebrated and encouraged on Michigan’s West Coast. We look forward to working with and supporting all the new entrepreneurs this report may inspire.”

For more information on these findings, go to www.WalletHub.com


About the Author

Jane Whitttington

Jane Whitttington

Jane Whitttington is a freelance writer and editor who lives in Grand Rapids. A Michigan native and Michigan State University grad, she enjoys reading, travel, politics and volunteering.