Location and Starting a Business

Houston, Texas: A Haven for Small Business Entrepreneurs

First-rate infrastructure and a friendly business environment are just a few of the reasons why Houston has become one of the most attractive U.S. cities for small business startups.

They say everything is bigger in Texas. So maybe it's only natural that small business is big business in Houston, the state's largest metropolitan area and the fourth largest city in the U.S.

Founded in a swamp in 1836, Houston has consistently integrated business interests into the city's vision for the future. Leveraging its roots as a shipping port, Houston has transformed itself into a major commerce center with a dominant presence in several key economic sectors.

When it comes to entrepreneurial potential, Houston consistently ranks high on the list of best places to launch a small business. Although you will have contend with the heat and the possibility of occasional hurricane or tornado, there are a lot of reasons why Houston is a great place to launch your startup.

Economic Vitality

Houston has a tradition of bucking national trends. Despite a rocky energy sector over the past few years, Houston outperformed the economies of other large American cities during the recession. Houston is a magnet for investment capital. It's estimated that by the end of 2015, Houston will attract $60 billion in new capital investment funding.

Reliable Transportation

In recent years Houston has invested more than $1.5 billion in its transportation infrastructure. Population growth continues to create challenges for the highway system, but the city and TxDOT are waging an aggressive war to reduce congestion. In the meantime, the city offers mass transit in the form of buses, trolley and light rail service. Combined with easy access to George Bush Intercontinental Airport (the 7th busiest airport in the U.S.) and the Port of Houston, entrepreneurs have multiple avenues for receiving supplies and shipping products around the world.

Key Business Sectors

Houston is home to several key business sectors offering better-than-average opportunities for new business startups. For starters, Houston has the Texas medical center, the planet's largest conglomeration of healthcare and research institutions. But in addition to its biomedical industry strength, Houston is a center of commerce in the fields of aeronautics, renewable energy, oilfield production & equipment, nanotechnology and enterprise software. With a plethora of major industry players in the region, it's no wonder that Houston small business growth consistently exceeds national averages.

Low Taxes

Tax liabilities are an important factor in determining the best place to launch your small business. Houston benefits from Texas' low tax requirements with ratings historically falling well below national averages. Current estimates put Texas' state and local tax burden at 7.9%. With the national average presently hovering around 9.8%, this makes Texas the 6th lowest region for combined state and local tax burdens.

Cost of Living

People who live in Houston think it's one of the nation's best kept secrets, a truly great place to live and work. Cost of living estimates indicate that it's also one of the nation's most affordable places to live with a lower cost of living than nearly any other major urban center. Driven by housing costs that are 21% lower than average, 2010 estimates reveal that Houston's after-tax cost of living figures 9% below the national average.

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