The HQ of Nike and Columbia Sportswear is also the home base for around 600 footwear and sports-apparel companies and more than 2,500 one- and two-person activewear firms.
Eleven Colorado tech start-ups raised $57 million in venture capital in the first three months of 2010. For a city of 100,000, Boulder has an unusually rich talent pool: a high concentration of computer-science-degree holders, as well as a large number of entrepreneurs who are working on their second or third ventures. There are nearly 200 tech firms based in Boulder, including OneRiot, Rally Software, SocialThing, and Kerpoof.
Nebraska's biggest city, after decades as a sweet spot for big business, is attracting a surge of entrepreneurialism, especially in e-commerce and software development. "It's hard to put your finger on why we're seeing all of this," says Mark Hasebroock, the head of Dundee Venture Capital. But whether it is because of the excess of capital or the low cost of living, pockets of angel investors are emerging in Warren Buffett's hometown, and corporate veterans are jumping ship to start businesses, like eCreamery, an online store that enables users to create and ship their own brands of ice cream.
4. New Orleans
Aggressive tax incentives, aimed at attracting film crews, have made Louisiana the third-biggest film-production state in the country, behind California and New York. Digital media and software development are on the rise, too. Social entrepreneurs looking for opportunities for profit and for doing good are poised to make a splash, as they have with Drop the Chalk, an educational software platform created by a veteran of the dysfunctional post-Katrina New Orleans public-school system.
A recent explosion of service-based websites like crowdSPRING, Built in Chicago, and GiveForward have joined already-successful sites Groupon and Threadless on the Chicago e-venture scene. "It's become common for new grads to have 10 employees and $1 million in revenues," says Raman Chadha, the executive director of and a clinical professor at DePaul University's Coleman Entrepreneurship Center. "These are real businesses that generate revenue by actually selling something."
Since April 2010, no fewer than three micro-distilleries—producing gin, bourbon, rye, and corn mash—have opened in Brooklyn, and by the summer of 2011 the borough could have the third-largest concentration of distilleries in the United States, behind Napa County, California, and Portland, Oregon.
In 2005, Jack Templin, a thirtysomething survivor of the 2000 Internet bubble burst, moved from Manhattan to Providence. Tech companies had begun to emerge in the town—with a little help from Rhode Island School of Design's graphic-design program and Brown's computer-science department—but the movement lacked organization. Templin cofounded Providence Geeks, which holds monthly dinners featuring a presentation from a local start-up. He also helped the state create RI Nexus, which connects Providence's entrepreneurial community. Templin and a few friends went on to launch Betaspring, a 90-day boot camp that puts young companies on a path to receiving venture funding. Some of the projects coming out of Betaspring include Manpacks, a subscription service for men's underwear, socks, and other essentials.