Where are the U.S.’s fastest-growing companies? Many aren’t where you’d expect (infographic)

3:51 pm by | 1 Comments

Inc 500 Kauffman Map

When it comes to entrepreneurial hubs and good places to start a business, reports that name Silicon Valley and Boston as technology and healthcare clusters are only telling part of the story.

Those places may have the greatest volume of health and technology companies, but from another angle, cities like Salt Lake City, Utah, and Indianapolis, Indiana, may have just as many advantages.

The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation took a different approach to identifying entrepreneurial clusters and plotted the geographies of companies on nearly 30 years’ worth of Inc. 500 lists to identify areas where the fastest-growing, privately held companies are located.


In a series of reports called The Ascent of America’s High-Growth Companies, the foundation notes that while many high-growth companies were located in Austin, Boston and Silicon Valley, cities like Salt Lake City, Indianapolis, Raleigh and Buffalo have been home to similar volumes of fast-growing companies over the past three decades. And while most states’ “Inc. scores” remained relatively flat over three decades, Washington, D.C. and Utah became especially fruitful in terms of growing companies.


What’s also interesting about the findings is the startlingly low number of health companies that have been named to Inc.’s list. If you look at the 2012 list, only 35 of the top 500 companies (7 percent) are health-related. Maybe that’s partly due to the slower growth of traditional life sciences companies.

To see the entire series of reports, click here.

[Map and infographic from Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation]

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Deanna Pogorelc

By Deanna Pogorelc MedCity News

Deanna Pogorelc is a Cleveland-based reporter who writes obsessively about life science startups across the country, looking to technology transfer offices, startup incubators and investment funds to see what’s next in healthcare. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Ball State University and previously covered business and education for a northeast Indiana newspaper.
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Derek Kerton
Derek Kerton

Interesting research, and I'm impressed by the DC activity. However, it seems that in order to match the narrative of "not where you'd expect", the regions have been gerrymandered.  (i.e. Brodering)


Why is it that the DC area starts out as "Washington-Arlington" but then ends in a 3.5 state region of DC VA MD WV? Meanwhile, the relatively contiguous Silicon Valley is broken up into (San Francisco Oakland Fremont) and (San Jose Sunnyvale Santa Clara). By breaking it up into two, you reduce the perceived impact of the region.


Furthermore, seemingly deliberate gerrymandering begs the question: all the towns of Mountain View North to San Bruno are not mentioned at all, and thus a big chunk of Silicon Valley companies are not even counted in the chart? You know, no name, one horse towns like Palo Alto. What about other contiguous Silicon Valley areas where lots of companies live, like Milpitas, Los Gatos, Cupertino, Scott's Valley?