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Top Cities to Start a Business: Springfield, Missouri

Founded in 1833, Springfield is home to more than 166,810 people. Along with nearby Branson, the surrounding metropolitan area has a population of nearly half a million. Known as the Queen City of the Ozarks, Springfield is Missouri’s third largest city and is a thriving regional economic hub. It ranks consistently as one of the top places to start a new business. A study ranking the U.S. cities by WalletHub in 2016 ranked Springfield as the eighth best city to start a business in the country, down slightly from its third place finish in 2015.

A number of factors contribute to making a city a great place to start a business. Variables range from affordable commercial properties and cost of living to easy access to resources like skills and financing. In terms of the cost of doing business, Springfield came on top in WalletHub’s 2016 ranking. Several state and city incentives also help new businesses in Springfield grow and succeed, including the City of Springfield’s Small Business Loan Program. The programme provides financing for business to buy and redevelop commercial properties. Loans also help businesses obtain working capital, inventory and equipment.

Businesses in Springfield benefit from easy access to essential resources needed to start a successful company, including skills, mentoring and financing. The city has a large talent pool thanks to three local universities – Missouri State University, Drury University and Evangel University. Universities offer new businesses a range of services and supports, including a seed capital fund and accelerator program based at Missouri State University’s eFactory. Drury University’s Edward Jones Center for Entrepreneurship also provides training for new entrepreneurs, while the Kauffman Foundation’s 1 Million Cups program offers start-ups opportunities to share their ideas with mentors and advisors

With money stretching relatively further than in other parts of the country, Springfield is an attractive location for new employees relocating from other parts of the United States. The city’s low cost of living includes an average home sales price of about $127,765. That represents about 21.9 percent lower housing costs than in other parts of the country. Overall, the cost of living is approximately 10.1 percent lower than the national average. The city’s cost of living is also considerably lower to nearby cities. It is 27.2 percent lower than Chicago, 9.6 percent lower than Kansas City, 9.0 percent lower than Dallas, and 1.6 percent lower than St. Louis.

In addition to low costs related to living and doing business, Springfield has excellent infrastructure that supports start-ups. Historically, the city was a major railroad hub and the birthplace of historic Route 66. The city is also centrally located, making it a great choice for shipping and transporting goods. Interstate 44 connects the city with St. Louis, Tulsa, Oklahoma City and other communities in the region. I44 also links with Interstates 70 and 40, making Springfield an easy destination to reach markets across the region and the United States. Springfield-Branson National Airport provides daily connections to major business centers, including Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas and Denver. With its new terminal building completed in 2009, the airport also provides non-stop flights to vacation destinations like Las Vegas, Orlando, Phoenix, and more. Springfield is also one of the best cities for commuting and is ranked twentieth in the country.

Springfield has a long tradition of entrepreneurship. Success stories include Bass Pro Shops, O’Reilly Auto Parts and Springfield Remanufacturing Corporation. Along with low costs, great infrastructure and excellent resources, the city’s innovating and entrepreneurial spirit contribute to making it one of the top places to start a business.

(1) ‘Best and worst cities to start a business’, USA Today, 10 May 2015,
(2) ‘2016’s Best Large Cities to Start a Business’, WalletHub,
(3) Population Estimates: City and Town Totals, United States Census Bureau,
(4) ‘Cost of Living’, Springfield Business Development Corporation,
(5) ‘Transportation’, Springfield Business Development Corporation,


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