Business Friendly States: Georgia in Profile
Georgia's general lifestyle has led to several large-and not so large-cities being ranked among the best places for new businesses to establish or expand. Various types of help given by the local governments encourage and support entrepreneurship.
The diverse population in Georgia blends city and country atmospheres. The wide variety of topography contributes to the unique lifestyle and unmatched activities available adding to the other reasons that Fortune 500 companies are attracted to the state.
Its moderate climate fosters an outdoor lifestyle that offers pristine beaches, majestic mountain ranges, vast forest areas and magnificent streams and rivers. A dozen national parks and sixty state parks are publicly owned and managed land areas. They include Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge and the Chattahoochee National Forest. The fishing, camping, hunting and other outdoor activities afforded by this unique combination of ecosystems keeps workers and their families satisfied with their jobs and increase their desire to continue working in the area.
The Benefits of Georgia for Businesses
One of the cities ranked in the top 200 U.S. cities nationally by Forbes magazine is Savannah. The criteria used to compile this list included:
- Current and projected job growth
- Cost of living and doing business locally
- Increased growth over the past five years
- Level of education for the available workforce
- Economic growth projections
Traditional bank loans to start new businesses may be difficult to get, but city organizations can help improve the owners' chances of gaining approval. Small business owners give a high rating to the business-friendly attitude of residents as customers. Per capita income within the state is high and the unemployment rate lower than the national average. The high percentage of job applicants holding a bachelor's degree makes hiring qualified personnel relatively easy. Business start-ups can begin growing economically, so a cost of living analysis was included in the statistics used as ranking criteria.
The Economy of Georgia
One of the hottest economies in the country is Atlanta. Although the city's businesses were badly hit by the 2000 recession, this metropolis has re-assumed a prominent place very quickly. Its strong service sector, affordable housing and pro-business culture work together providing the perfect atmosphere for establishing new businesses. Economic diversity characterizes Georgia's capital city. Top flight universities, a world-class airport, and many corporate headquarters, along with the advantages of smaller communities, make Atlanta inviting to businesses and their employees.
Atlanta does not rely mainly on technology or finance, and its well-rounded economic structure allows the city to take advantage of the current, broad-based business recovery. This has made Atlanta one of the most diversified economies in the U.S. The area's cost of living, especially the housing market, is lower than most other cities of its size, providing Atlanta with the benefits of lower business costs and employee salaries for start-ups.
Cendian, Inc. is one fast-growing company which has chosen to headquarter in Atlanta. Their reasons for making this choice are:
- Reasonable housing costs
- A variety of lifestyle options
- A lively central city and diversity in the suburban areas
- Available employees with a variety of skills from technicians to top management Atlanta's airport and history of logistics expertise are embodied in UPS, which helps Cendian's business by providing logistical support for the chemical industry.
The wider area includes sporting events like steeplechase racing, baseball, yachting, arena football and hockey. Art galleries and many museums provide a cultural atmosphere beneficial for supporting employees' desired lifestyles. The Alliance Theatre, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and the 14th Street Playhouse add other cultural opportunities.
Government Backed Incentives in Georgia
Businesses, including non-farm employment, financial services, manufacturing, business and professional services, information, retail and wholesale trade, educational and health services, transportation and utilities, leisure and hospitality, and government services have moved to Albany, Georgia. These industries have helped improve the economic structure of the area.
The Small Business Development Center (SBDC) located at Valdosta State University in Valdosta, GA, provides business and economic development assistance for new area businesses. Consultants help entrepreneurs with difficulties they may face dealing with business theory. The SBDC writes business plans, helps with financial assistance and helps businesses make loan applications. A curriculum of business educational programs provides training in QuickBooks, sales and use taxes, business plans and start-ups.
The Greater Dalton Small Business Network helps with business start-ups and growth. The support and resources help companies establish and expand. Using the Georgia Department of Labor's training program can save employers up to 90% of trainees' wages. Trainees are prescreened and the employer is compensated by "On-the-job" training pay.
Businesses that choose to locate in Dalton often consider later expansion. SmallBizU makes online courses available for a minimal fee. Various business topics are covered that help owners meet company challenges, and problem solving. State agencies offer business development plans, counselling for entrepreneurs, other small business services and financial assistance.
All these cities in Georgia are welcoming, supportive and willing to provide assistance for new businesses wishing to establish themselves within the state.