Fundera lists Fairfield as one of the 5 best cities in Connecticut to start a business. Following is an excerpt of their article
When you think of Connecticut, you might think of fall foliage, Gilmore Girls, big casinos, Mark Twain, Mystic Pizza, Yale University, country clubs, and commuters (and, if you’re Senator Chris Murphy, pizza to rival New York’s City’s). You might not think of Connecticut as a great state to start a small business—but you absolutely should.
Other than its convenient proximity to major cities and lush green suburbs, Connecticut has a lot to offer potential entrepreneurs. At 3.4%, Connecticut’s total effective business tax rate is the lowest in the United States, but its highly skilled workforce is the third-most educated in the nation. Plus, Connecticut is famous (or infamous) for harboring some of the world’s most lucrative hedge funds and, relatedly, 16 billionaires as of 2018. That’s a lot of wealth in one tiny state (although it’s important to note that income inequality in Connecticut is at an all-time high.)
Local business is incredibly important in Connecticut: Small businesses make up 97% of Connecticut’s total businesses, and employ almost half of the state’s private workforce. And Connecticut takes small-business promotion seriously, offering a range of state-specific small business financing programs and Connecticut tax incentives that encourage business investment.
What does all that boil down to? Connecticut is a promising state in which to start a small business—but where should you do it? Out of 169 towns and cities in the state, we found the five best cities in Connecticut to start a small business. Here are our rankings, our methodology for how we sorted through the data, and more on of why these five Connecticut cities are ideal for entrepreneurs looking to start a new venture.
Fundera Score: 2.6
- 62.3% of population have bachelor’s degree or higher (#1 on list)
- 1.46% recent job growth rate (among list’s highest)
- 3.8% unemployment rate (among state’s lowest)
Fairfield is situated right at the top of Connecticut’s “Gold Coast,” named for this region’s high concentration of wealth. No surprise, then, that Fairfield boasts the highest median household income on this list ($122,135). Overall, though, the cost of living in Fairfield is much lower than its pricier neighbors.
This New York City suburb is easily accessible to commuters, so it’s a draw for families, weekend warriors, and those with the budget for second homes. Fairfield also has a thriving downtown with shops, restaurants, live theater and outdoor concert venues, several arts centers, public libraries, museums, beaches, and marinas.
Fairfield is home to the Fortune 500 companies GE and Bigelow Tea, but it’s a college town, too, with Fairfield University and Sacred Heart University in the vicinity. Thanks in part to these stalwarts feeding its economy, and boosting its spending population, Fairfield is growing: Among other real estate projects, a new mixed-use development, planned to build 160 apartments and 22,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space, will break ground this year.
The town offers support and incentives to small business owners, too. Fairfield’s Micro-Enterprise Assistance Program offers entrepreneurs and small business owners with “training, technical assistance, and start-up capital needed to create and sustain viable and productive small businesses in Fairfield.” All new or existing small businesses that employ five or fewer employees and which operate in Fairfield are eligible to apply.
The town’s Office of Community & Economic Development also offers support to small business owners, both in establishing new businesses and in promoting and improving small businesses after opening. The office puts on Shop Local Events like sidewalk sales, Restaurant Week events, and seasonal shopping events, and workshops for small business owners. Additionally, Fairfield County SCORE Chapter has a location in Fairfield.