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.

73 of 100
BACK NEXT
73: Orlando, Fla.
Population: 204,524
Pro: Theme parks help diversified economy thwart downturns
Cons: If gas prices keep rising, tourists may stay away

Entrepreneurial zeal runs strong in Orlando: A "loan day" event last year bringing borrowers and lenders together spawned 39 business loans totaling $750,000. Greater Orlando is relatively insulated from Florida's real-estate crash. It has a broad mix of financial services and manufacturing companies, along with businesses catering to the 40 million tourists a year who throng to Walt Disney World, Universal Studios and other area theme-park attractions.

NASA's nearby Kennedy Space Center is a linchpin of the small-biz ecosystem. Other active players in cultivating startups include the University of Central Florida and the Disney Entrepreneur Center, a public-private collaboration offering counseling and other services. Orlando's thriving tourism business brings residents a wealth of local amenities - though it also represents an Achilles' Heel. If gas prices keep skyrocketing and the economy remains shaky, Orlando's economy is likely to suffer from the tremors. -Peter Galuszka

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


NEXT: 74. Columbus, Ind.

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