Alpharetta 1st, Cumming 6th best place to start business - North Atlanta Business Post
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Updated Nov 14 @ 1:05PM
 

Alpharetta 1st, Cumming 6th best place to start business

By KATHLEEN STURGEON
Posted
Folks are coming here to work and run their businesses that may not necessarily live here.”
James McCoy, president and CEO of the Cumming-Forsyth Chamber of Commerce

Cities in metro Atlanta, including Alpharetta and Cumming, now have reinforcement when they say they are among the best places to start a business in Georgia.

Having almost as many businesses as it does residents helped the city of Cumming snag a No. 6 spot on Nerd Wallet’s list of Best Places to Start a Business in Georgia.

Alpharetta was ranked first on the list, with Nerd Wallet saying the city has “nearly 9,000 businesses, which average over $6.9 million in revenue per business each year, more than any city on the list.”

Nerd Wallet is a free online tool to help customers choose credit cards and other similar products. It released its list June 8 and said Georgia provides a lot to business owners including low tax rates, ample technology infrastructure and affordable cost of living.

The company analyzed 126 places in Georgia, each with a population of at least 5,000. Cities with fewer than 500 businesses were excluded, regardless of population. According to the website, they calculated the overall score for each location based on the city’s business climate and economic health using data from the U.S. Census Bureau. To determine a community’s business climate, they looked at average revenue, percentage of businesses with paid employees and the number of businesses per 100 people. To determine a community’s economic health, they looked at median annual income, median annual housing costs and the unemployment rate.

Two of the key takeaways were the suburbs having the most profitable businesses and location along major transportation routes.

As for Cumming, the list said it is one of the smallest cities on the list, but it has more business per 100 people than anywhere else in the study. Cumming also has almost as many businesses (5,251) as it does residents (5,504).

James McCoy, president and chief executive officer of the Cumming-Forsyth Chamber of Commerce, said that means Cumming is an important employment center.

“Folks are coming here to work and run their businesses that may not necessarily live here,” McCoy said. “They may live in an unincorporated part of the county or live in another part of Atlanta, but they’re coming here to do business.”

The website also said being located along the bustling Ga. 400 corridor helps businesses in both Alpharetta and Cumming benefit from the area’s transportation and technology infrastructure.

That isn’t the only reason the city is doing so well, McCoy said.

“Certainly, Ga. 400 is a big driver of it,” McCoy said. “No city property tax also helps a great deal. But there are many other drivers. Our school system is a great example of that because they’re really pushing the growth as well.”

The website also noted Cumming’s Small Business Services Center offers coaching and roundtable discussions to help local business owners start and grow their enterprises.

“If you dig into the criteria of what they are looking for, it’s reflective of an overall very pro-business environment and community that has worked for a long time to make sure that today we would be able to enjoy the kind of business growth we’re seeing,” McCoy said. “There is an incredible technology infrastructure that exists and that we enjoy the benefits of.”

In an effort to continue this positive trend, McCoy said the chamber is in the middle of an important expansion in economic development efforts for the county called Business First. It’s a $3 million initiative.

“It’s really going to expand the role of the organization and the influence we have in terms of our abilities to go out and deliver on helping companies to either relocate here or expand,” McCoy said. “We’ve already seen some early results of that. This past year was a fantastic year for us and we expect this year to be our best year ever, in terms of company announcements, relocations and expansions. This is a community of really business-savvy entrepreneurs.”

For information on the study, visit http://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/small-business/best-places-start-business-georgia/.

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