Charlotte came in 8th in the 100 Best Places to Live and Launch. There are some major pro’s for this city: there is a steady influx of young educated workers, a business-friendly banking community, and a lot of local sports entertainment.
Wachovia and Bank of America have their headquarters here, but the oak-tree-lined city is also a great place to launch and grow a small business.
Regional organizations such as the local Small Business and Technology Development Center, the Inventors Network, and the Central Piedmont Community College's Center for Entrepreneurship supply a mix of mentoring, networking and technical assistance to innovative entrepreneurs, especially those in the finance and technology fields. To help develop the city's biotech industry, a research complex sponsored in part by the University of North Carolina at Charlotte is set to open its labs this year to scientists and start-ups involved in health care and nutrition research.
Charlotte's vibrancy and employment opportunities attract young professionals from around the state and help the city retain many of the graduates streaming out of 19 nearby colleges and universities.
For sports entertainment, Charlotte residents can snag tickets to Carolina Panthers football games and Nascar races. The city also features a number of premier golf courses. The Blumenthal Arts Center hosts touring musicians and Broadway shows throughout the year. For those who prefer outdoor recreations, the Great Smokey Mountains offer hiking, rock climbing and white-water rafting, while residents turn to Lake Norman for fishing, sailing and water skiing.