With over 50% of the working population — some 120 million people — employed at or running a small business, it makes sense that there’s a high demand for cities that can foster a quality business environment. And if you’re getting a start in California, you may be wondering where to begin.

But there’s no need to worry, because we’ve compiled a list of some of the best cities in California where establishing a business should be a breeze.


Emeryville is just across the Bay from San Francisco and it certainly has a lot of action happening. Pixar Animation studios is located here and is the largest employer in the city, but that doesn’t mean small businesses can’t thrive in this vibrant environment. In fact, there are several successful tech startups in the area, including MadeSolid and TubeMogul.

San Francisco

San Francisco not only has a booming biotechnology scene, it’s also home to some of the state’s best eats. So if you’re in the mood to start up a small restaurant or food truck, San Fran is definitely a place you want to be. There are numerous types of economic development here as well, including economic research.

Palo Alto

Palo Alto lies in the heart of Silicon Valley, which means there’s a lot of new tech to be had in this area. If you’re looking for an education while you foster a quality business environment, this is the place to be. Stanford University is the top employer here, and its research park houses over 150 tech-based companies.


Located right along the Sacramento River and in Shasta County, Redding is one of the centers of trade and commerce in Northern California. Not only is it home to countless successful small businesses, it’s also a hub for recreational activities and outdoor events. In addition, it’s right between San Diego and Seattle, so you’ll never be in need of road tripping ideas.
California is a big state with an even bigger appetite for successful small businesses. If you start your business in one of these cities, you’re sure to find success here.