Charleston ranks in top 10 cities to start a small business

Charleston ranks in top 10 cities to start a small business
Tuesday afternoon

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Yelp has launched its first-ever Local Economic Outlook report which reveals the cities, neighborhoods, and industries that offer the most opportunity for small businesses to thrive.

Charleston landed within the top 10 cities in the country to start a small business.

Maelyn Belmondo is the owner of Custom Frames of Charleston – a DIY picture framing experience. She decided to open it after her tour with the military ended here in the Holy City.

"I could not think of a better place to open a business because the people here are just so welcoming," Belmondo said.

"It really sends the signal that we're doing something right when it comes to small business," Jacob Lindsey, the City of Charleston's Director of Planning, said.

"Getting exposure of what the business means, the fact that it is fast, fun, friendly, and trying to spread the word… That's probably been the hardest thing," Belmondo said.

The likelihood of a small business succeeding is on the slim side - but Belmondo says it's all about your frame of mind.

"I feel like if you focus on the fact that so many fail – then you're kind of guiding the path to failure. Whereas I like to focus on new ways to interact with my target market, new ways to interact with people."

If you'd like to learn more about Custom Frames of Charleston, go here:

Yelp's Local Economic Outlook comprises a list of top 50 cities in the U.S. where businesses have the best chance of success, along with the top.

50 neighborhoods and 10 business categories that have risen the most in rankings for new-business opportunity. Charleston came in at number 5!

Top 50 Cities in America for Economic Opportunity

1. Charlotte, NC (-)

2. Jacksonville, FL (-)

3. Omaha, NE (^)

4. Orlando, FL (v)

5. Charleston, SC (v)

6. Las Vegas, NV (^)

7.  Tampa, FL (-)

8. Dallas, TX (-)

9. Salt Lake City, UT (^)

10. Houston, TX (v)

11. Louisville, KY (v)

12. Memphis, TN (^)

13. Tulsa, OK (v)

14. Miami, FL (-)

15. Phoenix, AZ (^)

16. Cincinnati, OH (-)

17. Atlanta, GA (v)

18. Nashville, TN (v)

19. Richmond, VA (v)

20. Saint Louis, MO (^)

21. Tucson, AZ (^)

22. San Diego, CA (^)

23. Albuquerque, NM (v)

24. Washington, DC (-)

25. Milwaukee, WI (^)

26. Denver, CO (-)

27. Columbus, OH (v)

28. Austin, TX (v)

29. Honolulu, HI (v)

30. Cleveland, OH (^)

31. Baltimore, MD (v)

32. Los Angeles, CA (^)

33. Minneapolis, MN (-)

34. Buffalo, NY (v)

35. Pittsburgh, PA (v)

36. New Orleans, LA (v)

37. Sacramento, CA (^)

38. Chicago, IL (^)

39. Philadelphia, PA (v)

40. Portland, OR (v)

41. Madison, WI (v)

42. Rochester, NY (v)

43. San Jose, CA (^)

44. New York, NY (v)

45. Hartford, CT (v)

46. Providence, RI (v)

47. San Francisco, CA (^)

48. Seattle, WA (v)

49. Portland, ME (v)

50. Boston, MA (-)

Top 50 Most Improved Neighborhoods in America for Economic Opportunity

1. Stonestown, San Francisco, CA

2. Wauwatosa, Milwaukee, WI

3. Ballston, Arlington, VA

4. Midtown, Detroit, MI

5. French Quarter, Charleston, SC

6. Admiral, Seattle, WA

7. Carmel Valley, San Diego, CA

8. Alum Rock/East Foothills, San Jose, CA

9. Silver Lake, Los Angeles, CA

10. North Buffalo, Buffalo, NY

11. Bucktown, Chicago, IL

12. Toluca Lake, Los Angeles, CA

13. Middle Village, New York, NY

14. Fox Point, Providence, RI

15. Lincoln Park, Chicago, IL

16. Elmwood, Berkeley, CA

17. Century City, Los Angeles, CA

18. Financial District, Boston, MA

19. North San Jose, Santa Clara, CA

20. Uptown, Minneapolis, MN

21. Downtown, Miami, FL

22. Russian Hill, San Francisco, CA

23. Mission Hills, San Diego, CA

24. Uptown, Oakland, CA

25. Downtown Berkeley, Berkeley, CA

26. Andersonville, Chicago, IL

27. Old Town, San Diego, CA

28. Near North Side, Chicago, IL

29. Willow Glen, San Jose, CA

30. U Street Corridor, Washington, DC

31. Marina/Cow Hollow, San Francisco, CA

32. Pico-Robertson, Los Angeles, CA

33. Banker's Hill, San Diego, CA

34. Mapleleaf, Seattle, WA

35. Rego Park, New York, NY

36. Back Bay, Boston, MA

37. Bay View, Milwaukee, WI

38. Hillcrest, San Diego, CA

39. Pacific Beach, San Diego, CA

40. Allapattah, Miami, FL

41. Tobin Hill, San Antonio, TX

42. Oltorf/East Riverside, Austin, TX

43. Echo Park, Los Angeles, CA

44. Highland, Saint Paul, MN

45. Elmwood Village, Buffalo, NY

46. Central West End, Saint Louis, MO

47. West Lawn, Chicago, IL

48. Tarzana, Los Angeles, CA

49. Far West/Northwest Hills, Austin, TX

50. Brentwood, Los Angeles, CA

Top 10 Most Improved Business Categories in America for Economic Opportunity

1. Restaurants

2. Nightlife

3. Beauty & Spas

4. Event Planning & Services

5. Health & Medical

6. Automotive

7. Food

8. Shopping

9. Home Services

10.Active Life


Yelp is the largest source of in-depth local business data and reviews online, with 135 million reviews and data including location and hours for millions of local businesses in 32 countries. Yelp had 102 million unique visitors

per month on average to our mobile site and app as of Q2 2017, with those users performing millions of searches and actions each day.This Outlook launch comes on the heels of a Harvard study last month finding that Yelp can help measure local economic activity on a more granular level and in more real-time than publicly available government data, and recent reports that the Economic Census will be delayed.

This report is part of an ongoing effort to surface insights from Yelp's deep data stores to help businesses succeed and arm policymakers with the information they need to make an effective change that will boost local economies.


Yelp created an opportunity score based on several factors and ranked cities, neighborhoods, and categories based on that score. We also factored for the change in opportunity over the year-earlier period. Each business in the U.S. that has been reviewed on Yelp was analyzed using a random-forest model to estimate its probability of remaining open for the next three months, for each month over the last two years. The model takes into account the business's location, category, and other factors, mainly based on Yelp-related activity for that business: how many reviews it received, how often people looked at its Yelp page and so on. The resulting score for each business was the building block for our rankings at the city, neighborhood, and category levels. The rankings are based on data from the third quarter of 2017: July through September. The rankings by change (for neighborhoods and categories) are based on comparing the third quarter of 2017 data with the third quarter of 2016.

While the random-forest model covered all businesses on Yelp, we built our rankings using the top 10 root categories on Yelp, according to page views.

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