While Silicon Valley might seem like a mecca for young entrepreneurs, the city with the highest percentage of millennial business founders is actually nowhere near there — it's Louisville, Kentucky, according to a new study from LendingTree.
For its study, LendingTree, looked at anonymized data from 35,000 business owners in the 50 largest U.S. cities who were seeking funding through its small business marketplace and compared the ages of the founders on their company's date of origination.
LendingTree found that 44.8 percent of business founders in Louisville, Kentucky were millennials (defined by the survey as born between 1981 and 1996). The highest proportion of Gen X founders (born 1965 to 1980) can be found in in Providence, Rhode Island and Philadelphia (48.7 percent). Silicon Valley actually goes to the Baby Boomers (1946 to 1964) at 24.1 percent.
As for the top 10 U.S. metro cities with the youngest founders, LendingTree found that Salt Lake City takes the top spot, with an average founder age of 37.81 years old.
"The area known as 'Silicon Slopes' encompasses the Salt Lake City metropolitan area and nearby cities; it is home to billion-dollar tech companies such as Overstock.com, PluralSight and Qualtrics," LendingTree's study notes. "These big players have helped established a steady, growing economy in Salt Lake City and throughout Utah. The area also has an established (and growing) pool of qualified talent. Combined with the relatively low cost of living, and entrepreneurs in Utah have few obstacles — and plenty of opportunities."
Buffalo, New York comes in second (average founder age of 37.91) and New Orleans, Louisiana third (37.95 years old).
In general, LendingTree found "[B]ooming local economies, along with low local costs and taxes, may be fueling startup growth," according to the report. "These [top 10] cities also have strong support systems in place to help founders and their startups succeed, from business incubators and accelerators to networking events and opportunities to apply for small business grants or attract venture capital."
Here are the top 10 U.S. cities with the youngest entrepreneurs, according to LendingTree:
1. Salt Lake City, Utah
Average founder age: 37.81
2. Buffalo, New York
Average founder age: 37.91
3. New Orleans, Louisiana
Average founder age: 37.95
4. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Average founder age: 37.97
5. Charlotte, North Carolina
Average founder age: 38.21
6. Minneapolis, Minnesota
Average founder age: 38.74
7. St. Louis, Missouri
Average founder age: 38.77
8. Portland, Oregon
Average founder age: 38.79
9. Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Average founder age: 38.98
10. Austin, Texas
Average founder age: 39.02
Overall, LendingTree found that the average ages of founders when starting their business ranged from 37 to 42 years old.
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