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Posted on: July 15, 2022

Port Orange ranked 35th best small U.S. city in which to start a small business

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By Shauna Muckle  –  Editorial Intern, Orlando Business Journal
Jul 12, 2022

Central Florida's city of Port Orange is the No. 35 best small U.S. city in which to start a small business, according to rankings by wireless carrier company Verizon.
Port Orange, which is six miles south of Daytona Beach in Volusia County, has a population of almost 64,000, according to the rankings.
Debbie Connors, president of the Port Orange South Daytona Chamber of Commerce, told Orlando Business Journal that Port Orange’s proximity to Orlando, the Space Coast and two interstates makes it easy to do business elsewhere in the state, boosting the city’s appeal for small businesses.
While the city is growing, congestion has remained reasonable and Port Orange’s culture remains intact, she said. “Many small businesses depend on the residential community to support them, and Port Orange has had consistent growth over the past 20 years to support these businesses, yet it still maintains a small-town atmosphere."
Connors said Port Orange is a hub for small and home-based startups. She described the city as a “relatively young” residential community filled with transplants from other areas.
Port Orange’s government helps incentivize business growth by waiving regulations for businesses that set up shop in community redevelopment areas, Connors said. That includes the Ridgewood Targeted Business program, which encourages development in east Port Orange's Ridgewood Corridor.
The city also has a streamlined permitting process for new and expanding businesses, said Christine Martindale, spokeswoman for the city of Port Orange.
Eight other Florida cities also made the cut: Palm Beach Gardens (No. 😎, Pensacola (No. 15), Jupiter (No. 20), Delray Beach (No. 23), Doral (No. 24), Ocala (No. 26), Sarasota (No. 45) and Bonita Springs (No. 46).
Verizon (NYSE: VZ) analyzed 333 cities with populations between 50,000-75,000 for its fifth year of rankings. The company based its scoring for each city on six factors: taxes, income per capita, broadband access, how easy it is to secure a loan, commute times and percent of residents with a bachelor’s degree.
The data was compiled from various state and national surveys and Small Business Administration loan data. Having a lower income per capita boosted a city’s rankings in Verizon’s list, as that indicates a lower cost of labor and other operating costs. However, having a highly educated population also increased a city’s score.
High prices, traffic, noise and market competition can make big cities difficult places for small businesses to survive, according to the study. That’s why small cities, particularly those with an “urban stride,” may prove more sustainable for small business growth.
Florida had the most small cities on the top 50 list. Eight cities in Washington also were ranked, as well as seven in Michigan and five in Utah.
The study’s top 10 small cities to start a small business are:
1. Logan, Utah
2. Richland, Washington
3. Corvallis, Oregon
4. Millcreek, Utah
5. Kentwood, Michigan
6. Olympia, Washington
7. Royal Oak, Michigan
8. Palm Beach Gardens, Florida
9. Lehi, Utah
10. Missoula, Montana

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