> Small Business > Best Places to Launch

49 of 50
Charlottesville, VA
MSA: Charlottesville, VA
Best places ranking: #19 among small metro areas
Population: 194,391
Entrepreneurs with brainy businesses find Charlottesville a great place to launch. The University of Virginia plays a starring role, bringing diversity and tremendous cultural, creative, scientific and historical resources to the city. It also helps foster Charlottesville's thriving entrepreneurial community. Local business owners can't say enough good things about Darden, UVA's graduate business school, which boasts the world-class Batten Institute for entrepreneurship. In addition to fostering education on innovation, Batten offers incubator space and other assistance to grad students starting businesses.

For a relatively small town, there's a good deal of venture capital here and in nearby Washington, D.C. Robust business networks help new entrepreneurs find angels and other investors. Finding the right employees, though, can be a challenge. Tech entrepreneurs can qualify for generous breaks on their local business taxes, but they have to compete for talent with rivals in Silicon Valley and other higher-paying areas.

But Charlottesville's quality of life can't be beat: The nearby Blue Ridge Mountains provide endless hiking opportunities, and oenophiles enjoy the growing number of vineyards surrounding the city. The city offers good schools and a low cost of living -- and right at its heart is a walkable, almost European pedestrian mall with numerous theaters, restaurants, cafes, artists, and musicians. -Elaine Appleton Grant

Launch Toolbox:
Resources for getting started in Charlottesville, VA


Local smallbiz lenders

  • Superior Financial Group
  • BB&T Corporation
  • Suntrust Banks
  • Southern National Bancorp Of V
  • Stellarone Corporation
See all local lenders

Charlottesville Business Statistics
Employer establishments with 1-49 employees
5,643 3,516
Small business growth rate
4.5% 4.1%
State business tax climate ranking
(out of 50 states)
15 N/A
Percentage of population with bachelor's degree
(ages 25-34)
53.3% 23.5%
Violent crime
(rate per 100,000 inhabitants, 2007)
265.8 385.1
Property crime
(rate per 100,000 inhabitants, 2007)
2,656.7 3,395.2
Population growth
6.6% 4.93%
Per-capita income
$41,571 $31,933
Per-capita income growth
33% 23.6%
GDP (in millions)
$8,332 $4,952
GDP growth
41% 33%
Average hourly wage
$20.47 $17.50
Housing foreclosure rate
(first half of 2009, 1 per every X housing units)
393 850
Median rent
(2009, for a 2-bedroom housing unit)
$929 $737
Housing price-to-income (HPI) ratio
(first quarter of 2009)
2.7% 1.8%
Long-term HPI ratio
(20-year average, 1984-2004)
2.1% 1.7%
HPI deviation from long-term average
30.9% 0.1%

All statistics are for the full Metropolitan Statistical Area. For a complete list of data sources, see "How we picked the Best Places."

From the November 2009 issue
"This is a nice, laid-back town with access to money and brainpower." -Adam Healey
Best Places Winners
What do you think of Charlottesville?
Find your launch spot
Do you prefer a place that is: Small Medium Large
The factors that matter most to me are:
 Affordable wages  Few foreclosures
 Educated workers  Low housing costs
 Low crime  High local incomes
 A growing economy  Population growth
 Growing small business population

ireportTell us why: Low taxes? Talented workers? An active small business community? Send us your photos and videos, and you could be featured in our upcoming coverage of reader-picked Best Places to Launch. More
This year we partnered with the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation to find the 50 most business-friendly communities in America.

With help from Robert Fairlie, an economist and leading scholar of entrepreneurship at the University of California, Santa Cruz, we developed a methodology and sifted through such data on factors such as per capita income, hourly wages, workforce quality, crime rates, taxes and foreclosures. More

Comments? E-mail the editors
Data partners

This package was produced in partnership with the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.

Foreclosure data provided by RealtyTrac.

Housing price-to-income data provided by Moody's