Columbia, SC Named in Inc.’s 2020 Surge Cities List

Columbia joins the second annual list of the 50 best places in America for starting a business

Inc. today announced its second annual Surge Cities list, a guide to the best 50 cities in America for starting a business. Coming in 42 on the list, Columbia, SC is ranked 6th in Net Business Creation, 20th in Wage Growth and 34th in Population Growth.

Inc.’s Surge Cities partner, innovation policy firm Startup Genome, used public data as well as insights from the Inc. 5000 list of the fastest-growing private companies in America to compile the city rankings. Startup Genome developed its scoring system based on three traits that determine a surge city: growth, opportunity, and innovation.

Inc. has long believed in the alchemy of entrepreneurial innovation and community,” Inc. acting editor-in-chief Jon Fine said in a statement. “We’re excited to see, for the second year in a row, how well some smaller cities are competing with—indeed, even besting—the likes of San Francisco, New York, and Boston.”


“We’re honored to be listed as one of Inc’s 50 best cities for startup growth in the U.S. Columbia, South Carolina is one of the fastest growing cities in the Southeast and an ideal place for commercial development. The word is out: our community is moving forward and great things are happening here,” said Ryan Coleman, Director of the Office of Economic Development for the City of Columbia.

“The Surge Cities list shows that the proliferation of new businesses is not limited to the largest cities in the U.S.,” said Arnobio Morelix, chief innovation officer at Startup Genome. “For startup founders, local connectedness—the quality and number of relationships you have with other founders, investors, and experts—is what really jumpstarts a young business’s revenue growth. Matter of fact, highly connected founders grow their revenue twice as fast as those with few connections.”

To see the complete list go to: inc.com/surge-cities

Introduced in 2018, the Surge Cities list quickly established itself as one of Inc.’s most anticipated franchises for early-stage business owners. This year’s package includes examples of thriving young companies in cities of all sizes across the U.S. in addition to the backstories of several founders’ journeys to success.

Inc.’s Surge Cities issue (Winter 2019) is available online at inc.com/surge-cities and on newsstands beginning December 12. Join the Surge Cities conversation using #IncSurgeCities.



Inc. is the world’s leading multimedia brand dedicated to the most dynamic players in business: entrepreneurs. Inc.’s award-winning work reaches more than 50 million people across a variety of channels, including print, digital, video, podcasts, newsletters, and social media. Its proprietary Inc. 5000 list, which Inc. has produced every year since 1982, analyzes company data to recognize the fastest-growing privately held businesses in the United States. The global recognition that comes with inclusion on this prestigious list gives the founders of top businesses the opportunity to engage with an exclusive community of their peers, and credibility that helps them drive sales and recruit talent. The associated Inc. 5000 Conference is part of a highly acclaimed portfolio of bespoke events produced by Inc. For more information, visit www.inc.com.

With more than 100 clients across five continents in 38 countries to date, Startup Genome is the top research and policy advisory organization for governments committed to accelerating the success of their startup ecosystem. Read more at startupgenome.com.