Aiming at the Right Target

April 7, 2014

There are dozens upon dozens of programs to assist small businesses in any state or community. There are programs that help entrepreneurs turn ideas into a storefront, those that help with financing and those that help guide the business as it grows. There is an important place for the good work that each of these programs do in every community.

However, in looking at the rankings of which communities rank best for small business growth, perhaps the two most important factors are population growth and a healthy inflow of first generation immigrants. South Florida ranks first in a recent study by the Kauffman Foundation for high-tech entrepreneurship, as did cities like Houston and Washington, D.C. All top ranked cities on the list are growing their populations and attracting immigrants at a faster pace than other metro areas.

As a result, they do better in this important ranking, and it is not likely because they have better small business programs than other cities. A provocative new book called The Triple Package by two Yale professors goes deeper to explain why it may be that some cultural groups do better in America than others, and what characteristics they seem to possess.

The Columbus Region is full of smart and open communities, more than 140,000 college students and a number of fantastic programs that help companies start and grow. According to the Kauffman Foundation, 14 percent of high-tech entrepreneurs in Columbus are immigrants, compared to 19 percent of those in the U.S. The Columbus metro also saw 47 percent growth in immigrant high-tech entrepreneurs from 2000 to 2011, compared to 12 percent in the U.S.

Perhaps the aim of our small business growth programs should not only be to assist entrepreneurs trying to get a business started, but to attract and retain people to our community who are inclined to do it in the first place.

Kenny McDonald

One Columbus Update

  • This week, the One Columbus team will travel to Phoenix for the MRO Americas conference, and we’ll be hosting companies in the Columbus Region. We’ll also travel to China to begin a two-week business development mission where we will meet with companies and consultants across the country.
  • Next week, our team will travel to New England to meet with companies and consultants in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut.