MSA: Oklahoma City, OK
Best places ranking: #1 among large metro areas
Stable and affordable, Oklahoma City is a haven for entrepreneurial risk takers. It boasts the second lowest foreclosure rate among large U.S. metro areas, along with the second lowest median rent. Through the Great Recession this former Dust Bowl capital has been spared many hardships, with a diverse local economy spread across medical research, energy, education and government.
Oklahoma City also benefits from a high concentration of deep-pocketed local investors, many of them veterans of the oil and gas industry, who are willing to take a gamble on companies that might spend 10 years bringing a new product to fruition. And the city itself has been a powerful friend to life-science startups, funding the 1996 construction of the Presbyterian Health Foundation Research Park. The complex -- 700,000 square feet of space in seven buildings on a 27-acre site -- has attracted an influx of innovative biomedical firms.
Oklahoma City has its drawbacks. Among the most tornado-prone cities in America, it has the dubious distinction of getting hit in 1999 by the worst twister on record, with winds topping 320 miles per hour. And forget about entertaining your visiting clients with top-notch sporting events: Oklahoma City has only one professional franchise, the NBA's Oklahoma City Thunder, which had its first season in 2008 and finished 26th in the league. -Alec Foege
Resources for getting started in Oklahoma City, OK
Local startup resources
Oklahoma City Business Statistics
"Before I moved to Oklahoma City from San Francisco 20 years ago, I had the cowboys-and-Indians stereotype in the back of my mind. Then when I got here, I was very pleasantly surprised. " -Craig Shimasaki