Imagine having a business plan, the secured funding to start your own business and the option to choose anywhere in the country to set up shop. Where would you go?
That's the question we set out to answer in the first-ever CNBC Metro 20: America's Best Places to Start a Business. Using private and government data, we looked at the 20 key criteria business owners should evaluate before choosing a business location, including tax and regulatory climate, workforce strength, access to capital and the cost of living.
Here's how we did it: First, we used the established list of 389 metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs), published by the Census Bureau, to define metro areas. Then we pinpointed 107 areas that had a population of 500,000 or more. New York is the largest of these, with a population of more than 20 million; Lexington, Kentucky, is the smallest city to make the cut, with an estimated population of 500,535.