Bradenton finished strong in a ranking of more than a 1,000 smaller cities for places to start a new business.
According to the finance website Wallethub.com, Bradenton ranked 11th out of 1,300 small cities across the country, scoring above average in all of the metrics used by the website.
“Bigger is not always better,” the website states when choosing a location to start a new business. “The best cities can help new businesses survive economic shocks such the COVID-19 pandemic, which already caused around 100,000 small businesses to close permanently in 2020.”
The metrics took a look at unique environments, low overhead, relationships between business owners and their customers, as well as the, “potential to become the big fish in a small pond.”
Manatee County Chamber of Commerce CEO Jacki Dezelski said the greater Bradenton area is ripe for business growth.
“I am not surprised that WalletHub was able to quantify what we already know — the Greater Bradenton Area is a great place to start and grow a business,” Dezelski said. “Florida, in general, ranks high as an affordable state in which to do business. Add in Manatee County’s and our cities’ business-friendly reputation, our desirable quality of life, and our great business support systems and we’ll compare favorably.
“I believe our community is more committed than ever to doing business locally and supporting the companies that have chosen to locate and grow here,” she said.
Bradenton is one of only two Florida cities to claim a top 11 spot with Fort Myers finishing eighth overall. The next closest Florida city was 16th.
Bradenton Mayor Gene Brown said the ranking is an “honor,” but doesn’t come as a surprise.
“It shows what we’ve done and continue to do now, as well as looking to the future works,” Brown said. “We continue to make the city business friendly to give our citizens a great place to live, work and play. People want to live here and businesses are noticing that.”
The COVID-19 pandemic may have, in a roundabout way, helped business growth along, Brown said, as Florida fell under the spotlight for reopening its economy earlier in the pandemic than many other states.
“What’s happening now, coming through COVID is people are looking to where things are happening, especially on the west coast,” Brown said. “People are wanting to be here so the businesses are seeing that and our urban core is growing. We are at this stage because we have available space and property and it’s going to explode.”
Brown said the city is receiving a lot of outside interest.
“We are seeing a lot of people rattling cages to see what’s going on here,” Brown said. “We are prepared to take the next great step for Bradenton.”
It’s not just interest, Delzeski noted. Despite the pandemic dominating the majority of 2020, new business growth continued.
“The Manatee Chamber has helped close to 100 local businesses celebrate ribbon cuttings since the start of 2020,” she said. “So, even through the very worst economic downturns of the pandemic, entrepreneurs have launched new business ventures in our community.”
Here are the top 10 small cities to start a new business:
- 1. St. George, Utah.
- 2. Cedar City, Utah.
- 3. Williston, N.D.
- 4. Washington, Utah.
- 5. Logan, Utah.
- 6. Aberdeen, S.D.
- 7. Midvale, Utah.
- 8. Fort Myers, Fla.
- 9. Clearfield, Utah.
- 10. Bozeman, Mont.