Richmond, Va – The City For Small Business

small_business_richmond_virginiaFor those who are unfamiliar with Richmond, it is the capital of the Commonwealth of Virginia.  It is an independent city which means it does not fall under the jurisdiction of any county.  This means that Richmond small business owners pay their taxes directly to the city and benefit directly from the city’s laws on business and taxation.

As part of the Richmond Metropolitan Statistical Area as well as the Greater Richmond area, it hosts a population of about 1.2 million which is the third largest in Virginia.  Encircled by Interstate 295 and Virginia State Route 288, it lies at the intersection of Interstate 64 and Interstate 95.  Historically, the City of Richmond was founded in 1737 where prior to that it served as a settlement for English colonists coming from Jamestown during the 1600s.

The City for Small Business – Richmond, Va once served as the capital of the Confederate States of America.  The installation of electric streetcar systems brought small business Richmond Va owners and the city as a whole into the 20th century.  The city also serves as the national hub for the African-American commerce and culture which is the Jackson Ward neighborhood.  This definitely contributes to its claim as the City for small business Richmond, Va.

The success of small business in Richmond is based on the law driven economy which is centered on legal and banking firms based mostly in the downtown area.  Do not get the wrong notion though that the city for small business Richmond, Va does not have huge corporations or highly established banking systems.  In fact, it hosts the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond which is only one of 12 Federal Reserve Banks.  Fortune 500 and Fortune 1000 companies also hold headquarters in the city for small business Richmond Va.  Let us take a look at the other claims to fame of the city when it comes to the Richmond, Va, the City for Small Business.

Richmond, Va is the Best Small American City!

Because of the promising business environment in the City of Richmond, the Future by Foreign Direct Investment magazine has named it as the Best Small American City.  It ranked third among the Top Small cities which placing fifth overall when it comes to Small Cities Business Friendliness.

The small business Richmond, Va got the nod from the judges primarily because it has one of the best strategies among the small cities that have a population of anywhere from 100,000 to 250,000 residents.  This means that if you are looking for some of the best small businesses in the country like a web design company for example, then Richmond Va is the place to visit.

City For Small Business – Richmond, Va As America’s Best Cities for Business 2011

The thriving atmosphere for small business Richmond, Va was also recognized by the America’s Best Cities for Business for the year 2011.  Considering the great recession that has swept the continental United States, small businesses in Richmond, Va have successfully stayed afloat.  This is a testament to the strong commitment of the local government to the small business environment in the city.

The city for small business Richmond, Va placed seventh in this list by gathering 957 points.  It even placed very close to Washington, D.C. which was the top finisher in the list.  The award received by the city for small business Richmond, Va is more spectacular when you consider that it was not part of the list the year before but successfully laid claim to one of the top spots this year.

City For Small Business – Richmond, Va Has a Lower Cost of Living

Perhaps one of the reasons why the city for small business Richmond Va has successfully weathered the economic storm is that despite being just an hour and a half from Metro Washington (using private transport), it has maintained a relatively lower Cost of Living compared to other smaller cities.  This makes it a perfect haven for small business to thrive and for companies to seek out affordable products and services from small businesses.

By maintaining relatively lower Cost of Living, the normal pinch associated with an economic depression is not felt as hard.  The concentration of S&P 500 companies in the city is also something to boast about despite ranking lower in personal income and tourism.  However, what is noteworthy is that even if it has not created substantial amounts of jobs during the past four years, the unemployment rate has remained under control and relatively low.

The accolades do not stop for the city for small business Richmond, Va.  The State of Virginia was named as America’s Top State for Business in 2011.  This means that the support for small businesses are not only limited within the City of Richmond but extends across the state as well.  Virginia has received the top award during 2007, 2009, and 2011.  For this year it was able to receive 1,660 points out of a possible 2,500 points based on various categories.

The categories used for judging in the America’s Top State for Business are; Cost of Doing Business (350 points), Workforce (350 points), Quality of Life (350 points), Infrastructure & Transportation (325 points), Economy (300 points), Education (225 points), Technology & Innovation (225 points), Business Friendliness (200 points), Access to Capital (100 points), and Cost of Living (50 points).

What is noteworthy about this award is that Virginia has always been considered a perennial contender which translates to an immense potential not only for business, but for livelihood as well.

Taking into account almost everything that has happened to the economy during the past few years and the number of corporations that are facing closure, the ability of the City of Richmond and the State of Virginia to sustain small businesses is truly amazing.  If you are a small business owner looking for the right location, then Richmond, Virginia is definitely the place for you.

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Blair Neher

Blair Neher

Chief Primate at Talking Monkey Media
Blair Neher is the owner/operator of Talking Monkey Media, a web solutions company based in Richmond, Va. Blair writes about all things Web and Small Business related. Read more About Talking Monkey Media. Connect with Blair on Google+, Twitter, or LinkedIn.