business acumen | Humboldt County should make this top 10 list – Times-Standard

Not long ago, consulting firm Ramsey Solutions published a list of the top 10 best cities for a small business. While the ranking explanations included common considerations such as population, VAT rates, unemployment rate and average housing costs, the winners’ descriptions also included other notable, if less typical, characteristics. Reading through the list, I realized that many of these small business friendly assets are also available right on our own little piece of land – helping to support our local small businesses.

Ramsey ranked San Francisco #1, citing the city’s temperate weather and a beautiful international landmark in the Golden Gate Bridge as two of the reasons. Humboldt County definitely has the weather (at least for those tired of hundred-degree summers and/or snowy winters) and our majestic, thousand-year-old redwoods impress both visitors and longtime residents every day.

Austin, Texas was known for its booming arts and music scene—and while the recent Redwood Coast Music Festival was an annual event, live music is the norm any day of the week in many of our communities. And while we can also enjoy local art galleries, the growing inventory of public murals, painted utility boxes, sculpture and more in Eureka, Arcata and beyond provides easy access to public art every day.

Minneapolis, Minnesota was mentioned as a hub for startups that pride themselves on their small businesses, including local breweries and food trucks. Sound familiar? The Ramsey people also suggested Minneapolis as the place to go when you have a creative idea, but as the home of the founders of Wing Inflatables, Marimba One, Kokatat, Locally Delicious and more, locals already know we hit them. And like Seattle, Humboldt embraces local culture and often chooses to support local businesses over big corporations.

Nashville offers “green landscapes, rolling hills and friendly smiles,” notes Ramsey. Check, check, and check again, and while Ramsey found Boston had plenty of eager college graduates, Humboldt always did. Now, with the University turning into a Cal Poly, we’re going to have even more.

I have to admit that before reading the list, I assumed all communities would benefit from strong small business development hubs like ours. The North Coast SBDC often helps new and established businesses with free workshops, business advice, and more—but these Humboldt-familiar assets helped put Portland, Oregon, on the list.

Each city named in Ramsey’s top ten “best cities for small business” is home to 400,000 or more people and we don’t have that many in the county as a whole, but it’s clear that urban communities aren’t the only ones with wealth have support for budding entrepreneurs. Humboldt also offers additional quality of life benefits to attract and retain the creative and engaged workforce small businesses need to thrive. We abound in community festivals, farm-to-table produce at our farmers markets and local grocers, have more outdoor recreation opportunities to list here, and enjoy proximity to countless beaches, rivers and breathtaking views. We’re also home to friendly people and a more relaxed, easy-going attitude that make Humboldt a wonderful place to live.

It’s clear the Ramsey people just haven’t found us yet…

Lynette Mullen is a local project manager and historian. She can be reached at [email protected]


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