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Top Cities to Start a Business: Shreveport, LA

A number of factors make a location an ideal place for a start-up, including the local cost of living and taxes. Access to resources like financing and talent are also important variables. Shreveport has been recognized as a city with many of these key elements to making a successful start for a new company. In WalletHub’s 2015 ranking of the best and worst places to start a business in the United States, Shreveport came on top (1). In 2016, Shreveport ranked eighteenth in WalletHub’s list of the best large cities to start a business (2). The same study found that Shreveport has the fifth highest rate of growth for small businesses.

Shreveport is Louisiana’s third largest city. The city is a major commercial center in the Ark-La-Tex region where Louisiana meets with Arkansas and Texas. Interstates 20 and 49 link the city to nearby states, while Shreveport Regional Airport offers direct flights to major economic centers in the South including Atlanta, Dallas and Houston. Founded in 1836, Shreveport is home to nearly 200,000 people (3). A major business hub for the oil industry until the 1980s, the city is now home to a strong service-based economy. Major commercial developments include the Louisiana Boardwalk, a large shopping and entertainment complex in neighboring Bossier City. Downtown is the home of the 350,000 square foot Shreveport Convention Center.

Businesses in Shreveport benefit from several tax incentive programs at the local and state level. Louisiana’s Enterprise Zone Program provides tax credits and sales and use tax refunds for businesses hiring from targeted groups, while the local Caddo-Bossier Foreign Trade Zone allows for the import of materials and components without paying duties until they enter the U.S. market. With the Louisiana Quality Jobs Program, an annual rebate is available for up to ten years for employers that meet minimum hourly wage rates and offer a basic health plan. Motion picture and television production companies also benefit from refunds on sales and use taxes.

Depending on where a business is based in Shreveport, it can benefit from other incentives. The Downtown Shreveport Development Corporation also provides match funding for the renovation of older buildings in the downtown district. The Restoration Tax Abatement program also provides a five-year deferred assessment of property taxes assessed for improvements and development of commercial buildings in the Downtown Development District and the Center City Economic Development District. There is also a state Industrial Property Tax Exemption for new and expanding manufacturers, which covered up to five years.

In addition to a strategic location and a range of tax incentives, Shreveport also benefits from affordable commercial spaces. Local spaces for rent averaged $12.50 per square foot in 2015 (4). This compared to $17 per square foot for commercial rental spaces in New Orleans, $21 per square foot in Austin and $50 in New York City. The 1980s saw a large amount of commercial office space built in the city, and many of these properties have been well-maintained over the years. There are also plenty of smaller single-use office space options in Shreveport, including office condos with a mix of commercial and residential units. High quality business premises are complemented by a variety of amenities that make Shreveport an attractive place to live. This includes a selection of parks and green spaces, cycling and running trails along the Red River, and cultural attractions such as music and performing arts venues in the downtown area.




(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) ‘Shreveport No. 1 in places to start business’, The Times, 13 May 2015,



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