Houston is a veritable gold mine for U.S.-based startups. An economically and socially diverse city, Houston encourages innovation, art, and technology, making it a well-rounded starting point to begin building your business.
Here are some of the reasons why Houston, Texas, is a phenomenal place to start a business:
#1: It’s startup and small business-friendly
Unique to the state and giving it a considerable leg up on its competition for your startup business, Texas does not impose corporate or personal income taxes. This means more to invest in your business growth and more take-home pay for you and your employees. Additionally, the city prides itself on its “fast and friendly” permitting process, making it easy to start your business without having to face excessive red tape.
Outside of its business-friendly regulations, the city has a number of business incentives, such as the Texas Enterprise Fund and the Texas Enterprise Zone Program. There are also ample local incubator and accelerator programs, such as Founder Institute, Mass Challenge Texas, TMCx Accelerator, and many more. In addition to office space, incubator programs offer coaching, networking, business ideas, and collaboration with other entrepreneurs and executives.
#2: Flexible office options are abundant
Your ideal Houston office space will depend on the type of business you run, your team’s needs, and the resources you have available. For example, if you have a 5-person startup company and rarely host clients or 3rd parties, one of Houston’s many co-working or executive suite spaces could be the solution for you. Co-working spaces don’t just create opportunities for collaboration — they are also investments in your business that give you the flexibility of a shorter-term and affordable lease to help you get business off the ground. In Houston, explore the possibilities for commercial or workspace that fits your fledgling company’s business plan, culture, and products.
BIZSUITES by Hartman is a single-office model designed with affordability and flexibility in mind.
Alternatively, you may seek another affordable, flexible office option, such as shared office space or an office sublease. There isn’t just one type of office space for your business in Houston — from executive suites, to flex space, to swanky traditional offices, this city has something for every company.
#3: Ample transportation options
Getting around Houston is made easy by the many local transportation options available. If you’re not partial to driving, no worries — Houston’s METRORail and bus services will get you where you need to go. (The city’s metro sees a ridership of more than 18 million people annually!) You can also take advantage of the city’s cab services; one particular local perk is a $6 flat-rate cab fare for all rides within the Downtown area. Finally, you can take advantage of The Wave, the city’s own ride-share service that accommodates up to 15 passengers. The company describes its service as “a hybrid between a taxi, a limo, and a public bus.”
If you need to get out of town, the city is served by 3 airports:
- George Bush Intercontinental Airport
- West Houston Airport
- William P. Hobby Airport
#4 Relative affordability of office space
Small businesses or startups don’t often have an abundance of cash to rent in costly commercial real estate markets like San Francisco or New York. Houston offers affordable office rental rates, while still providing the benefits of a major metropolitan area. Submarkets like North Belt, FM 1960, Greenspoint, Energy Corridor, and Park Ten have ample commercial space available at reasonable price points.
#5 Affordable Cost of Living
Among the top 20 metro areas in the U.S., Houston is second in terms of affordable housing. The cost of living is almost 5% lower than the U.S. national average. This is fantastic news for companies who want to attract top talent from around the country. What’s not to love about an affordable, booming metro area?
Add to this the fact that there is no personal income tax in Texas, and your business’s new headquarters just became irresistible to the talent you are recruiting.
#6 Abundance of Talent in the Area
The new employee mindset isn’t to stay with one company for their entire career. Today’s workforce is on the move, and Houston’s excellent collection of new companies makes it an epicenter for top talent.
Houston has an abundance of talent thanks to local universities
Texas universities are routinely at or near the top of rankings that measure degree programs against one another. Rice University, the University of Houston, and Texas Southern University are three of many universities churning out talented graduates regularly.
Houston’s population has ballooned over the past decade, with a growth of more than 20% since 2010 it’s not hard to see why. University grads get jobs they love with companies doing great things and stay in the area. Top talent moves in to take advantage of tax-friendly policies, affordable living, and culture.
All this means that your startup has a regular, fresh crop of potential star employees to help grow your business.
#7 Growing Startup Scene
Entrepreneurs are responding to Houston’s favorable landscape for startups. Venture capital activity, for example, has increased by 250 percent since 2016. And in 2020, more than $700 million was invested in Houston deals.
As a result of this boost of activity, you can expect to be surrounded by other business owners at various stages of experience. There is a healthy flow and exchange of ideas from people walking similar enterprising paths. This creates invaluable opportunities for learning, growth, and collaboration to take your startup to the next level.
Health care, technology, biomedical research, hospitality, and manufacturing constitute major industries that make up Houston’s diversified economy.
#8 Rapidly Diversifying Economy
Houston business leaders intentionally and mindfully promote diversification of the economy as the continued growth and stability of the economy is promising. Health care, technology, biomedical research, hospitality, and manufacturing constitute major industries that make up the city’s economy. This makes for a healthy business environment overall.
#9 It’s Home to a Number of Fortune 500 Companies
Houston ranks 3rd for being home to the highest number of Fortune 500 Head Quarters, topped only by New York and Chicago. You’ll find more than 20 Fortune 500 companies in Houston, including Hewlett Packard, Phillips 66, and Halliburton. These companies have enormous intellectual and economic resources that continue to make Houston a magnet for innovation and success.
#10 Diverse Community of People
The vast array of people and backgrounds in Houston gives the city a fresh, innovative spirit. Residents speak more than 145 languages in Houston — ranking it only behind Los Angeles and New York City in this category. And Houston’s reputation as a cultural hotspot is only growing nationally — the city sees a staggering 22 million visitors each year to its restaurants, art museums, sporting events, festivals, and technology summits.
In terms of business, diversity is a top indicator of productivity, innovation, and prosperity in cities. Houston’s reputation as a highly diverse city is ideal for those looking to start a competitive, successful business.
Start a Business in Houston as the First Step of Your Business Plan
Houston has stayed true to its identity as an energy and talent-producing hotspot in Texas, with no signs of stopping. The city and its businesses embrace its diversity and play to its strengths.
Business-friendly tax policies mean commerce from startups and Fortune 500 companies will continues to pour resources, money, knowledge, and growth opportunities into the community. Start a business in Houston, and you’ll start with a solid foundation and readily available support.