Memphis is the city you move to when you want to turn big dreams into reality, which is exactly what countless individuals with entrepreneurial spirits are doing every day in these parts.

You won’t find many cities around the nation that boast the startup rates you’ll find here in Memphis, TN. This is likely why Memphis has been included on CNN Money’s list of the top 10 best cities to launch a startup… twice.

In 2014, Memphis was ranked No. 10 by CNN Money. In 2015, it jumped up three spots to No. 7.

This impressive rise shows how quickly the city is becoming a hub for entrepreneurs. Whether you’re thinking about moving here or already live here and are considering starting your own business, let’s take a look at why Memphis entrepreneurship is booming.

Memphis is a leader in female-owned business growth

A lot of women are opening up businesses in Memphis. in fact, the city witnessed a 116 percent increase in female-owned businesses between 2007 and 2012. One inspiring female business owner is Neely Draughon, who founded Off the Square Catering in 2008. Draughon was an accountant in Nashville when she decided to attend pastry school and start her own company here in Memphis, and the rest is history!

Memphis was voted the best city for black entrepreneurs

What’s also fueling Memphis business growth is the uptick in black entrepreneurs opening up shop here. In 2018, Memphis was rated the best city for black-owned businesses by Black Enterprise Magazine.

Indeed, minority-owned businesses of all kinds have flourished in Memphis in recent years. Here’s a look at the numbers from between 2007 and 2012:

  • Black-owned firms grew 100 percent
  • Hispanic-owned businesses grew 113 percent
  • Asian-owned firms grew 23 percent

As with the growth in female entrepreneurship, several factors played a role in the rise of other types of minority-owned businesses in Memphis, including the establishment of programs specifically aimed at women and other minorities.

Programs and funding are available to women and other minorities in Memphis

One of the biggest obstacles associated with starting a business is funding, and this is especially true for women and other minorities. To help, the Memphis-based nonprofit entrepreneurial organization Epicenter teamed up with Pathway Lending, a nonprofit community development financial institution, to launch the Memphis Small Business Opportunity Loan Fund.

Currently, the fund is composed of a whopping $15 million and is backed by three local lenders. Its aim is to fund business owners who may not qualify for conventional bank loans, with loans of between $5,000 and $1 million available to both existing business owners and those looking to launch a startup.

Starting a business (and a life) in Memphis

It can be tough figuring out the best place to sow your seeds. At the end of the day, you want to pick somewhere you can live, work and play. You’ll find an array of opportunities for all three here in Memphis, which is why it’s consistently listed as one of the top cities in the U.S.

If you’re committed to becoming a successful entrepreneur, then Memphis is definitely the place to be!

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