Start a Business: Why Choose Charlotte

by Dominic Basulto, contributing writer

The city of Charlotte, North Carolina is routinely ranked among the best cities in the nation to start and run a small business. In fact, a recent survey of major metropolitan regions by financial website WalletHub ranked Charlotte as the No. 5 city in the nation for small business entrepreneurs.

One big factor that is supporting the rise of the small business sector in Charlotte is the amount of growth and vibrancy that is happening overall within the city. For example, the city is expected to double in size by the year 2030. That is opening up all types of opportunities for non-tech entrepreneurs, including restaurant and café owners, retail store owners, and real estate business owners. You can think of these small business owners as creating the support structure for the city to double in size, from nearly 1 million to 2 million people.

Moreover, Charlotte already has a very established traditional corporate base, anchored by big names like Duke Energy and Bank of America. In general, there are three major industries where there are very developed ecosystems that can help to foster new entrepreneurial talent: financial tech, healthcare and energy. The so-called “fin tech” space is a very exciting space to watch in Charlotte. One startup that has really hit it big is AvidXchange, a company that provides accounts payable automation. The company is now the best-funded startup in the entire state of North Carolina, having raised over $525 million in venture capital money.

But you don’t have to be associated with the financial services industry in order to hit it big in Charlotte. For example, say that you have a great idea for the city’s housing contractors, plumbers of electricians. If that’s the case, you might want to take a closer look at Charlotte-based startup Payzer, which is a mobile platform for contractors to manage their businesses. The company launched in 2014 and has already raised over $10 million in VC financing.

In addition to a strong and thriving small business sector, Charlotte also has a good quality of life. In surveys, Charlotte routinely scores high for its relatively affordable housing and generally low cost of living. For example, the median housing cost in Charlotte is just $284,900.  You can just imagine how much you’d be paying for that same house if you were living in one of the bigger coastal cities like New York or Washington! For that reason, Charlotte has been a magnet city for top entrepreneurs and small business leaders looking to start over with a new business.

The good news is that there are plenty of networking and mentoring opportunities in Charlotte as well. For example, the University of North Carolina in Charlotte sponsors events like Startup Weekend, a 54-hour extravaganza designed to get people starting and launching new businesses. If you are looking for additional online resources for your new Charlotte small business, you can also take a look at the new offerings from My Business Coach, which offers resources, tools and templates specifically designed for the first-time entrepreneur.

There’s no doubt that “The Queen City” has transformed into a major entrepreneurial and startup hub over the past few years. All it takes is a good idea, and it’s possible to tap into the extraordinary new opportunities emerging in Charlotte, North Carolina.