Houston, Texas (population 2.3 million)

Houston is the most populous city in Texas and the fourth-most populous city in the US (and the sixth-most populous in North America), with a population of 2,304,580 in 2020.  

Houston has become a popular location for both US-based start-ups and expansions. As an economically and socially diverse city, Houston encourages innovation, art and technology, making it an attractive proposition for business owners.  

One of the leading sectors in the city is the energy industry, particularly oil and natural gas production.  

Among other companies starting up and expanding their presence in the region are biomedical research firms and aeronautics companies. With renewable energy sources (wind and solar) enjoying burgeoning economic bases in the city, the economic forecast is favourable.  

Other relocations and expansions have also been seen in technology and software companies that include Castle, KBR, Cybersoft, Houston Wire & Cable and HostGator. In 2022, Hewlett Packard Enterprise also relocated its global headquarters from California to the Greater Houston area. 

Austin, Texas (population 960,000) 

As the capital of Texas, Austin is considered by some to be the best place to start a business in the US, with start-up growth more rapid here than in many other US cities, thanks in part to its proximity to the Mexico border.  

With a workforce considered to be creative and innovative, Austin is an attractive option for employers considering setting up business in the city. 

Greater Austin boasts a gross domestic product of about $86bn and is a major centre for high-tech start-ups and expansions. Thanks to the profusion of graduates from the engineering and computer science programmes at the University of Texas, companies looking to expand in the city have steady source of potential employees.  

Austin regularly ranks among the best places to start a business in the US, with a growing number of high-tech companies in the region.  

Leading companies with operations that continue to expand their presence in Austin include 3M, Apple, Amazon, AMD, Cisco Systems, eBay, Electronic Arts, Flextronics, Facebook, Google, Hewlett-Packard, Nintendo and Tesla. With this strong business community and government tax incentives, Austin continues to be a good choice for business start-ups, expansions and relocations.  

Collaboration between business and education/research institutions has become more prevalent in Austin in recent years, with companies in including Hospira, Pharmaceutical Product Development and ArthroCare Corporation at the forefront of these moves.

Los Angeles, California (population 3.9 million)

With a reputation as a bustling business hub, Los Angeles is the third-largest city in the US in terms of the number of start-ups 

Industries that are showing continued growth in the city include engineering, with California Institute of Technology providing a constant stream of talented potential employees for companies looking to start, relocate, or expand a business in the area.  

As well as its famed entertainment industry, Los Angeles has established and new companies in sectors including international trade, video games, aerospace, technology, petroleum, fashion, apparel and tourism. 

The growing presence of finance, telecommunications, law, healthcare and transportation industries highlights the economic diversity that makes the city an attractive option for business leaders and entrepreneurs. 

Boulder, Colorado (population 110,000) 

Located at the foot of the Rocky Mountains, Boulder stands 40 kilometres north-west of the Colorado state capital of Denver.  

Considered to be an entrepreneurial centre, Colorado is ranked in the top 20 US states for GDP, and Boulder plays a key role in building that reputation. High-profile start-ups in the city include Digible, Atomos Space and Boulder AI.  

Boulder is home to the main campus of the University of Colorado, the state’s largest university, affording business owners access to a continuous and talented group of graduate employees.  

Major employees in Boulder include Google, IBM and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.  

With an ever-expanding and diverse economy, the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade continues to offer support and incentives for those looking to start, expand or relocate their business in Boulder. This continues to nurture local business collaboration, creating a business-friendly government programme for new or existing businesses.  

Cincinnati, Ohio (population 2.2 million) 

As one of the three so-called ‘innovation districts’ in Ohio (alongside Cleveland and Columbus), Cincinnati has invested more than $15.5bn in local business initiatives over the past five years. 

Driven by the high concentration of graduates from Ohio’s world-class universities and medical centres, companies located or relocating in the city can be competitive in the high-tech marketplace silicon, software and bioscience sectors.  

With a diverse economy and positive forecast for growth, more companies across healthcare, tech, IT and life science R&D are relocating here to attract local talent and investment.  

The Ohio Department of Education is a partner in the local science, technology, engineering and mathematics initiative, designed to attract new business and encourage expansions for companies in the region.  

Companies including Intel have collaborated with the state to take advantage of expansion opportunities, having invested $20bn in private capital to create 3,000 direct jobs for their first semiconductor manufacturing operation in more than 40 years.

Miami, Florida (population 443,000) 

Miami is a coastal metropolis that has become a major centre for start-ups and expansions in multiple industries, and any business looking to invest in the US. These sectors include finance, commerce, culture, arts and international trade. 

With a UBS study of 77 world cities placing Miami as the second richest city in the US, it is not surprising that it is ranked as one of the best places to start a business in the country, with foreign investment in US companies a major factor in the local economy. 

As well as being a significant tourist destination in Florida, Miami continues to enjoy the increased business activity for both start-up ventures and expansions, with the city’s downtown area boasting one of the largest concentrations of international banks in the US.  

Adding to its position as a good place to invest in US markets, Miami is home to large national and international companies including Carnival Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean Cruises, Burger King and American Airlines. Tech is also a growing sector in Miami, with Google, Facebook, Twitter and Apple taking advantage of a highly skilled local workforce pool.  

For health and bioscience businesses looking to locate in Miami, several major health and hospital facilities, including the University of Miami’s academic medical centre and teaching hospital, offer R&D collaboration opportunities to local companies.  

Information and from US Census Bureau, Jobs Ohio, Business California, US Data and Statistics and Texas Commerce, City of Houston.