Great Falls ranks 11 on Go.Verizon list of best small cities for small business

Great Falls was ranked 11 in the “Best Small Cities for Small Business” report for 2019 from Go.Verizon.

The team gathered data from nearly 300 cities nationwide, focusing on certain factors that would categorize them as small without dipping below the mark to “town” status by looking at cities that have a population between 50,000 and 75,000.

“Though it is true that when it comes to places rich with business growth and opportunity, small cities don’t generally come first to mind. But avoiding the chaos and competition of large cities and planting your roots in a quieter, yet equally industrious, pocket of the country puts your business in a uniquely advantageous position. After some generous research and a bit of computing, has found that the smaller the city, the more room there is to grow,” according to the report on the company’s website.

The top 10 cities were:

  • Logan, Utah
  • Sarasota, Florida
  • Coral Gables, Florida
  • South Jordan, Utah
  • Doral, Florida
  • Cheyenne, Wyoming
  • Lehi, Utah
  • Taylorsville, Utah
  • Missoula, Montana
  • Corvallis, Oregon

Great Falls and Missoula were the only two Montana cities included in the top 50 in the Go.Verizon report.

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The city recently ranked in the top 100 best places to live by

Other factors in the Go.Verizon rankings included:

  • the percentage of the population over 25 who had received a bachelors degree or higher from an accredited university or college;
  • commute time;
  • income per capita: “for this particular study, mo’ money = mo’ problems. To hit the small biz sweet spot, analysts took into account the average cumulative income of residents in each city. That number reflected the city’s workforce being paid fairly and labor costs still being manageable for employers,” according to the report;
  • broadband access;
  • loans per capita; and
  • tax scores.

“Typically, lower taxes provide a better environment in which to establish a new business. The Tax Foundation’s 2019 State Business Tax Climate Index was accessed and the tax-friendliness of each city was determined,” according to the report.

The index ranked Montana as the fifth best state for business tax climate.

The report also considered the number of non-farm businesses based on the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2012 Economic Consensus: Survey of Business Owners.

City planning office closed May 3, effort to revamp development review process continuing

“It is exciting for Great Falls to be recognized for being one of the best small cities for small business. In 2012, Great Falls was named Small Business Community of the Year by the U.S. Small Business Administration. It is no secret to us that Great Falls is open for business,” City Manager Greg Doyon said in a release. “It is easier for entrepreneurs and small businesses to begin in Great Falls than some of the other communities in Montana. Other communities have significant development costs, not to mention incredibly high real estate prices. Great Falls is Montana’s best kept secret for small business.”

The city is currently revamping the development review process to streamline the process and make it more understandable for developers, business owners and residents alike.