Birmingham ranks 37 on Inc. 50 Best Places in America for Starting a Business

IMG 6638 Birmingham ranks 37 on Inc. 50 Best Places in America for Starting a Business
View of City of Birmingham from from The Club. Photo by Pat Byington for Bham Now

Inc., the nation’s leading magazine and digital publication about small businesses and startups ranked Birmingham 37th on their 50 Best Places in America for Starting a Business.

This is a big deal for Birmingham. It is hard to imagine the Magic City making such a national list 5 to 10 years ago.

Inc. came up with its rankings through the creation of a “Surge Cities Index” to score and rank the top 50 metro areas in the U.S. on seven key indicators–from early-stage funding metrics to job creation.

Inside the numbers

As expected, Austin, Texas, Raleigh, North Carolina and Nashville, Tennessee were the three cities in the South that made the top five on Inc.’s list.

Chicago beat Birmingham by one spot, ranking 36th. Birmingham ranked higher than New Orleans, Memphis, Cincinnati  and Louisville.

Looking at the internal numbers, despite the 37th ranking, Birmingham actually ranked below 37th on all the seven individual national categories – the metrics.

Rate of Entrepreneurship – 27th
Wage Growth – 23rd
Job creation – 26th
High Growth Company Density – 33rd
Net Business Growth – 35th
Population Growth – 35th
Early Stage Funding Deals – 33rd

Magic City is getting noticed

Steve Case, Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin and J.D. Vance at the Rise of the Rest Tour. Photo by Pat Byington for Bham Now.

Over the past year, Birmingham has been getting attention from entrepreneurs, investors and the Startup community.

On his Rise of the Rest visit to Birmingham in the Spring of 2018, legendary investor and entrepreneur Steve Case endorsed the Magic City.

“My impression a few years ago it (Birmingham) was kinda off the radar. But over the last few months it has been getting more and more noticed.

It is clear to me, from what we have heard and seen, it (Birmingham) really is one of the rising cities in America. It is pivoting from steel to startups. The Magic City seems to be growing again and has a great opportunity to be one of America’s great startup cities and also one of the most inclusive startup cities.”

This Fall, the Brooking Institution and the city of Birmingham entered into a partnership to help boost the city’s economy.

Screen Shot 2018 12 05 at 7.32.11 AM Birmingham ranks 37 on Inc. 50 Best Places in America for Starting a Business
City of Birmingham, Brookings Institute and business leaders announce multi-year partnership. Photo by Pat Byington for Bhamn Now

Along with Shipt’s  commitment to Birmingham, the growth of Innovation Depot and the innovative programs at Economic Development Partnership of Alabama, the future looks bright.

Look out Austin and Nashville!


Pat Byington
Pat Byington

Longtime conservationist. Former Executive Director at the Alabama Environmental Council and Wild South. Publisher of the Bama Environmental News for more than 18 years. Career highlights include playing an active role in the creation of Alabama's Forever Wild program, Little River Canyon National Preserve, Dugger Mountain Wilderness, preservation of special places throughout the East through the Wilderness Society and the strengthening (making more stringent) the state of Alabama's cancer risk and mercury standards.

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