What would make a city a great home for an entrepreneur? Livability and Entrepreneur Magazine have partnered to rank the Top 50 Best Cities for Entrepreneurs and Brookings, coming in at #25, is the smallest community in the top 25.

From a field of more than 2,000 small- to mid-sized cities throughout the country, the top 50 were chosen based on fifteen specific indicators that show the city was both a great place to work and to live. The city has to be a good place to start a business – one that supports startups and has a community of people that do as well. Other criteria included unemployment rate, cultural and entertainment options, demographics, education, healthcare and housing.

Here is what the Livability report said regarding Brookings:

We know what you’re thinking: South Dakota?! But here’s why it stands out from the rest: Lots of jobs (second lowest unemployment on this list), lots of high wage job growth (second on the list), plus it’s affordable (number 2 for per capita spending on food, top 5 for affordable housing) and commute time is the lowest out of the 50. Bottomline: When you’re strapped for cash but still want a booming startup region, Brookings is the place for you. If that doesn’t convince you, Brookings is also featured on our Top 100 Best Places to Live and Top 10 Best Small Towns.

“For a town of its size, the resources and services available for entrepreneurs in Brookings, such as my job as a full-time director of entrepreneur support, is incredible,” said Jennifer Quail of Brookings Economic Development Corporation (BEDC). “This national recognition showcases our continued efforts to support start-ups and our goal to be a destination of choice.”

BEDC’s Division of Entrepreneur Support provides networking opportunities, education and resources to area entrepreneurs and small businesses. The program works with service providers, volunteers, and emerging and small businesses to create a cohesive support system for the entrepreneurial community.

The community’s support of startups is demonstrated through Vision Brookings, a private-sector economic growth initiative with over 115 local investors. One of the main goals of these investors is to identify, engage and promote entrepreneurship and small business success. Vision Brookings provides funding for Quail’s position as well as other entrepreneurial initiatives such as the Enterprise Institute and the Research Park at SDSU.

The top five cities in the list were: Alexandria, VA; Iowa City, IA; Chapel Hill, NC; Boulder, CO; and Corvallis, OR. For a complete list, visit www.livability.com.

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