46 of 100
46. Madison
Population: 222,428
Pros: Vibrant college town, educated workforce
Cons: Frigid winters, expensive housing and property taxes

Madison is strategically placed near Chicago, Milwaukee and the Twin Cities - but many workers stay within the bounds of the city. Major companies include financial services and healthcare providers such as American Family Insurance and Dean Health Systems. The University of Wisconsin's flagship campus provides a talented, educated labor pool for startups: Madison boasts an unusually high density of PhDs.

Entrepreneurs also benefit from tax incentives such as the Angel Investment and Venture Capital Tax Credit, which is available to investors in small tech companies. Although winters are chilly, Madison offers a humid, temperate climate with four distinct seasons. Amateur sportsmen enjoy 260 parks and 150 miles of bike trails, while the University of Wisconsin's athletic teams draw rabid fans from miles away. -Mina Kimes

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

NEXT: 47. Gainesville

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