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53. Rochester, Minn.
Population: 94,583
Pro: Heaven for biotech startups
Con: Cold winters

Information technology and medical research converge in Rochester. The city is a major biotech hub, hosting a University of Minnesota campus, a branch of the Mayo Clinic that employs more than 25,000 area residents, and IBM Rochester's genetics supercomputer, BlueGene.

Rochester is also making a concerted effort to attract entrepreneurs and venture capital firms. Current initiatives include the BioBusiness Center, a 150,000-square-foot office and laboratory complex due to be completed by early 2009. Local startups enjoy the patronage of Rochester Area Economic Development, a private-public partnership that focuses on the bioinformatics, biopharmaceutical and medical device industries. The city also boasts two orchestras, three theaters and 60 miles of paved running paths. -Malika Zouhali-Worrall and Peter McDougall

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Last updated July 02 2008: 11:16 AM ET
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