Colorado Springs was the ideal place for Adam Miller to launch his mountain bike company, because the perfect terrain to test them is only five minutes away.
The Colorado Springs culture of rugged individualism helps it score well with business owners, who appreciate its easygoing zoning laws and light regulations.
They also value its highly skilled population: The city is full of recent graduates from the University of Colorado and Colorado College, as well as Air Force veterans from nearby bases.
"We've got a pretty talented workforce we can tap into," said Jon Duncan, CEO of Managed Business Solutions, a consulting and data center management firm.
The tech scene is booming, and Colorado Springs has become a growing data center hub for the federal government and major corporations like HP(HPQ) and FedEx(FDX). That's created what Duncan calls "a gravitational pull," which attracts even more firms and talent.
Then there's the lure of the region's natural beauty. Adam Miller left Alaska to study in Colorado Springs and later launched Fat Bike, a mountain bike company.
The area is "everything outdoors you can imagine in one place," Miller said.