41 of 100
BACK NEXT
41. Asheville, N.C.
Population: 69,447
Pros: Emerging tech industries, support for artists, scenic mountain town
Con: Oversaturated industries

It's no secret that Asheville, nestled in the middle of the Appalachian Mountains, is a site to see - so many entrepreneurs have tried to profit off of the city's tourism and hospitality industries that these sectors are now almost oversaturated.

What's less well known is that Asheville is actively recruiting to fill new markets, especially the tech industry. Home of the National Climatic Center, Asheville encourages its business community to leverage and support the weather facility. The city has seen a steady increase in the number of local firms innovating in the areas of communications, software, digital media, fiber optics and tech commercialization. The Blue Ridge Entrepreneurial Council offers education and networking; it also co-sponsors an annual venture-capital conference that has helped new regional companies raise more than $6 million over the past year. The Technology Commercialization Center managed by the Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College is dedicated to helping tech startups bring their innovations to market.

Manufacturing and tech-based businesses can take advantage of state tax credits for job creation and research and development. New and expanding companies that invest a minimum of $1.5 million in construction, machinery and equipment in Asheville can apply for a local Economic Development Incentive grant. Asheville also has a thriving creative community. Local organizations such as HandMade in America and Asheville Hub help area artists market their creations.

Asheville's architecture is an eye-catching mix of Art Deco, Beaux Arts and Neoclassical styles. For outdoor enthusiasts, the area offers scenic and challenging hiking and mountain biking trails and whitewater rafting on one of three regional rivers. Add in a diverse local music scene and premier golf courses and you've got a city that offers a little something for everyone in the way of entertainment. -Brandi Stewart

Interactive map: Asheville, N.C.
Homes for sale Find homes for sale in Asheville, N.C.


NEXT: 42. Ann Arbor

Last updated July 02 2008: 11:16 AM ET
More Galleries
7 hot businesses to start now It's hard to predict what businesses will take off, but these startup ideas have been drawing tons of interest from entrepreneurs and their customers on Thumbtack.com. More
How will a minimum wage hike hit businesses? Thirteen states increased the minimum wage on Jan. 1, and President Obama supports raising the federal rate to $10.10. 4 small business owners weigh in on how an increase would affect them. More
America's favorite businesses From a science camp for girls to a kombucha brewer, communities around the country voted on their favorite small businesses. These 12 came out on top, each scoring a $250,000 grant from Chase and a trip to Google's headquarters. More

Special Offer
Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer LIBOR Warning: Neither BBA Enterprises Limited, nor the BBA LIBOR Contributor Banks, nor Reuters, can be held liable for any irregularity or inaccuracy of BBA LIBOR. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.