5. Nashville

small biz cities nashville

Nashville's music scene is legendary, but the city is gaining attention for its growing startup community.

Healthcare is one of the largest and fastest-growing industries in Nashville, with over 250 companies employing more than 100,000 people.

But Nashville's small business ecosystem is thriving for other reasons, too.

"There's no state tax here, and the city offers funding for new businesses," said Angela Jones, executive director of the Nashville Business Incubation Center at Tennessee State University.

The NBIC has up to 40 startups at a time, and companies can stay in the program for up to five years. It also offers low-interest loans of $25,000 to startups in the program.

"The six major colleges here also are continuously feeding an educated workforce into the labor pool," said Jones. "Many of these graduates come out of college and are focused on starting their own companies."

First published July 9, 2014: 2:39 PM ET

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