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The Best Southwestern Cities for Small Business


Ben Goldstein

Between New Mexico’s thriving entrepreneurial community and the explosion of Hispanic-owned small businesses in Arizona, the Southwest might be the most exciting region for small business ownership in the United States. So which Southwestern city is the most welcoming for small businesses? If you’re thinking of staking your own claim in the desert, listen up:

  • According to the Credibly Business Index, Phoenix, Arizona, is the most business-friendly city in the Southwest. Phoenix earned an Index rating of 80 based on the overall health of its 27,401 small businesses and strong annual revenue of nearly $100 million per year. (Phoenix’s stats were also enough to earn it the #6 spot on our 10 Best Big Cities for Small Businesses infographic.)
  • Other Arizona cities that scored well on the Credibly Business Index included Scottsdale (75) and Tempe (71), though the fast-growing city of Surprise, AZ, turned in a frightful score of 15, partly due to its low survival rate. Roughly 64% of Surprise small businesses will close within two years of opening.
  • Albuquerque, New Mexico (65), continues to be a strong and steady hub for small business in the Southwest, leading the pack for the “Land of Enchantment” and outscoring every other city in Nevada and West Texas. According to stats from the Credibly Business Index, Albuquerque is home to 11,589 unique small businesses, producing $28,767,943 in annual revenue, and boasts a two-year survival rate of 82%.

The Credibly Business Index takes data from the United States Census and the US Small Business Administration — such as the number of businesses in each city, their annual revenue, and how many businesses stay open after their first two years — and uses a proprietary calculation to crunch those variables into a single number on a scale of 1-100, which reflects the friendliness of those cities towards small businesses. For this analysis of the best Southwestern cities for small business, we looked at 17 major cities in the Southwestern U.S., spanning various geographic regions and demographic makeups.

The full list of Southwest cities on the Credibly Business Index is below…

Phoenix, Arizona (80)
Scottsdale, Arizona (75)
Tempe, Arizona (71)
Albuquerque, New Mexico (65)
Henderson, Nevada (62)
Las Vegas, Nevada (60)
Tucson, Arizona (59)
Reno, Nevada (57)
Chandler, Arizona (55)
Mesa, Arizona (54)
El Paso, Texas (53)
Glendale, Arizona (52)
Santa Fe, New Mexico (52)
Las Cruces, New Mexico (51)
Gilbert, Arizona (38)
Peoria, Arizona (31)
Surprise, Arizona (15)


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