Startup Resources: Growing a Startup in a Small City

By Fernando Berrocal

A lot of entrepreneurs believe that for their startup to flourish, they need to relocate to a big city such as Silicon Valley or the vibrant city of New York. However, this is not entirely true nowadays since smaller cities across the country have a lot to offer to different types of entrepreneurs. 

When it comes to selecting an ideal location, many entrepreneurs prioritize access to talent, finance, consumers, and industry knowledge. Quality of life that helps to balance the grind of turning opportunity into revenue, as well as proximity and density of other startups, skilled business support services, and a quality of life that helps to balance the grind of turning opportunity into income, are all significant advantages. As a result, many entrepreneurs believe that to find all of these things, they must migrate to major cities or established startup centers. The desire to "go large" while picking your new venture's location, like many other assumptions made by entrepreneurs when starting a startup, isn't always the best alternative.

Take a second look at cities that are not that well-known startup hubs, known as “Second Cities”. For example, we have the city of Hartford, Connecticut. This is a very friendly city with a wealth of knowledge, especially whether you're in the insurance or financial services industry, healthcare, or sophisticated manufacturing. We have several top-tier educational institutions in the region that are overflowing with enthusiastic young talent. Our area offers a diverse range of artistic, cultural, and recreational possibilities. We're also within a two-hour drive from many well-known mountains, coastal, and urban retreats. For all of these, it’s why we believe that smaller cities are a great option for their venture’s success.

The main advantages for entrepreneurs of smaller cities are many. Firstly, these types of cities allow innovators to quickly build and establish social and business networks in smaller communities. In this type of city, the startup ecosystem is generally more linked than one in a bigger, more dispersed location. Everyone you wish to meet is conveniently accessible. People tend to know each other on a social as well as a professional level, and someone you know is likely to know the next person you'd want to meet.

Secondly, density hubs are more visible and cheaper to live in.  Density is simpler to develop when a society is small. Entrepreneurial resources frequently cluster within a few blocks, allowing meetings with multiple stakeholders to be held in a single day, this results in time savings that would otherwise take twice as long. You may also stretch your funds by giving yourself more time between financing rounds or creating a product that requires a particular degree of complexity. Because of the decreased fixed expenses, you can accomplish more with less.

Lastly, Startups stand out in smaller locations because they offer something unique, and living in these environments makes it simpler to focus. The fresh viewpoint and courage required to build a new path frequently arouse the curiosity of the public and the local media. Smaller communities benefit from word of mouth and a few well-placed media advertisements to acquire traction more quickly. Smaller communities allow founders to focus on the things that are real and concrete, placing an emphasis on the critical job of meeting milestones and gaining traction with a focused group of consumers.

Is having your Startup in a small city right for you? Certainly, in smaller locations, entrepreneurs may have a tougher time finding an innovation network. In comparison to the magnetic attraction of larger, more established cities, many communities struggle to obtain exposure. Many small towns, such as Hartford, however, want startups to flourish and are working hard to offer the resources they require. Hartford has evolved as a dynamic hub of innovation and entrepreneurship in the last four years, largely to the passion and vision of a connected group of co-investors. In many respects, the value that Hartford provides to its entrepreneurs is a result of its size.

Growing a Startup in a Small City


So, how can you know if your hometown or a nearby small town is the ideal area for your business to grow?

  1. Begin with a Google search, but be prepared to socialize right away:  Discover a local co-working, or find a business that seems to be in the same stage or field as you, then reach out and introduce yourself. Emails and LinkedIn messages are excellent for this. Entrepreneurs are busy people, so it may take time, but they also like assisting those who share their interests.  Stay persistent, tell them you want to be a part of the startup ecosystem, and people will be ready to assist you.

  1. Check with your contacts to see who else you should try to meet here:  Smaller cities are no exception to the rule that the greatest communities for entrepreneurs are full of connections. These linkages are critical to the success of a growing startup environment. Request introductions to individuals who are experts on the resources you require or ask your current contacts to recommend others. If your contract says nothing comes to mind, follow up after they've had some time to reflect. If a relationship proves to be exceptionally beneficial, contact the person who introduced you. Positive outcomes excite people, and this may lead them to want to be even more helpful.

  1. Ask for items, resources, or decision-maker if it will be beneficial to you: Smaller communities generally imply greater bonds, although they may not be apparent to newcomers. It may be more difficult for the local network to anticipate your requirements if you live in an area where startups aren't a big part of the economy. So, if you're seeking a certain skill set or resource, be precise. Rather than asking for general accounting references, if you require an accountant who specializes in preparing startups for investment, specify that. You'll get fewer suggestions, but they'll be far better.

Growing a Startup in a Small City


  1. Ask whether anyone knows each other: One of the nicest things about smaller communities is that almost everyone is not that far from each other. As a startup, you're probably attempting to gain a sense of who has the talents you need, who you can rely on in a crisis, possible conflicts of interest, and other potentially beneficial or problematic relationships. The best thing to do is to just ask if anyone knows someone else you may already be speaking with - especially if they are in the same industry.


Are you ready to bring your startup to the next level? Apply to MassLight’s next batch. MassLight supplies capital and a dedicated tech team. We take equity in return. Have questions? Refer to our FAQ page.

About Us

Started in 2000 in Washington DC, Masslight has served the DMV for 18+ years. We serve enterprises and startups with full-stack development and long-term project management services.

Contact Us

masslight logo
©2019 MassLight Inc.
Website by Oneness Co-Creative