Our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy have changed.

By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to the new Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

67 of 100
BACK NEXT
67. Honolulu
Population: 383,424
Pro: Easy access to Asian markets
Con: High cost of living

An ocean may separate Honolulu and the rest of the country, but free wireless Internet throughout much of the city, plus a time zone midway between New York and Asia, means that entrepreneurs here can be more connected than their mainland peers. Global-minded business owners can reach New York markets in the morning and Asian contacts in the afternoon, while the University of Hawaii supplies a well-educated workforce.

Tourism has long been a major industry, but finance, insurance, health care, and construction are also growing sectors. Tech businesses receive a boost from the city's tech-friendly tax structure (royalty income from the sale or licensing of intellectual property is exempt from both general excise and income taxes; and tax credits are awarded to firms that boost their research activity).

Hawaii Business Express assists entrepreneurs in working through red tape, and nonprofits such as HiBeam, a tech mentoring firm, also get start-ups off the ground. A little more than half of Honolulu County's private-sector businesses operate with four or fewer employees.

The cost of living is high - but so is the quality of life. Palm trees, sandy beaches, and other outdoor attractions convince many educated workers to stick around. -Peter McDougall

Interactive map: Honolulu
Homes for sale Find homes for sale in Honolulu


NEXT: 68. Ventura, Calif.

Last updated July 02 2008: 11:16 AM ET
More Galleries
5 startups that are reimagining the world Bricks that grow from microorganisms, household garbage turned into art, three-wheeled bike-cars -- these startups are redefining urban living. More
Blue collar entrepreneurs These five entrepreneurs took their blue collar experience and used it to launch innovative businesses. More
7 lifehacks to eliminate your holiday hassle Whether curating the perfect gift or finding a pet-sitter, these startups offer time-saving services that might just seem like holiday magic. More

Special Offer