The Top US Colleges and States for Local Entrepreneurs and Business Founders

Location. Location. Location.

No, we're not talking about one of the fundamental laws of property investment. Instead, we're focusing on where the next generation of business founders are deciding to launch their companies.

And for that, we've brought you this latest piece of research from the team at Switch On Business. It put together several charts showing the US colleges and states with the most local business founders, based on data collected from LinkedIn.

Here's a summary of all the results.

New York colleges produce the most local business founders

New York is the place to be for graduates who want to start a business. The city dominates the list of the top US colleges with the most graduate founders, with 8 entries in the top 20.

The New York colleges churning out local graduate founders include Baruch College, Columbia University, and The New School.

Of the New York schools on the list, Hunter College scored highest, with over half (54%) of its graduate founders staying in the Big Apple.

Let's also give a special mention to New York's Fashion Institute of Technology. 40% of its graduate founders started their business in New York. The fashion school also has an illustrious lineup of super-famous graduates who became some of the biggest names in fashion, such as Michael Kors and Calvin Klein.

Some of the highest-scoring schools outside New York City include Georgia State University (46.32%) and The University of Houston (41.23%).

Utah Valley graduates stay loyal to their state

An impressive 80% of all graduate founders from Utah Valley University remain in Utah following graduation.

So what's so great about Utah?

Put simply, it's one of the best states in the USA to set up and do business. Taxes are low, regulation is favorable, and the state economy is absolutely booming.

And with its thriving startup and tech scene, why would any ambitious graduate even think about leaving Utah? It has everything they need to get a new venture off the ground, then grow fast.

Utah Valley takes the top spot on a state-by-state analysis, but the rest of the chart belongs to California. Thirteen of the top twenty colleges in this part of the study are located in The Golden State.

The college with the most graduate founders in each state

Texas State University helps support the local economy by producing a large amount of graduate founders. Over two-thirds of all graduate founders who went to the college are now running a business in Texas.

Chicago's DePaul University is the top school in the state of Illinois for graduate founders. Just under half (49%) decided to stay in Illinois following matriculation.

These graduates are following in a fine tradition. Founded in 1898, DePaul has a strong commitment to serving local communities and providing access to education for all students, including first-generation college students and those from underrepresented groups. The school's founder wanted to ensure that students from all backgrounds could receive a quality education that would enable them to improve their lives and contribute positively to local economies.

US states with the most graduate founders

California and Texas are winning the battle to hold onto their best, brightest, and most ambitious graduate talent.

61% of all graduate founders in California remained in the state, while Texas boasts a graduate founder retention rate of 53%. Impressive stuff.

The same can't be said for Vermont, New Hampshire, and Connecticut. These three states are among the lowest scores of all. Each scored under 10%, meaning 9 out of 10 college founders who studied in states are putting their education to good use elsewhere.

But at least they didn't do as poorly as Rhode Island; less than 6% of its college founders have any interest in doing business in the state after college.

That's some serious brain drain. But where does all that potential move to? One possible answer is New York.

New York is less than 2 hours drive from Rhode Island. The city offers graduate founders a larger and more diverse market to target, as well as superior access to capital, talent, and a dynamic cultural and innovation ecosystem.

Searching for opportunity in California

Where do all the graduate founders who don't stay in their state move to?

According to this final infographic from Switch On Business, the answer is California.

California is a giant magnet for graduate talent, sucking in more graduate founders from across the USA than any other major state included in the study.

It's the smart choice location for graduate founders looking for that first break. A recent study found that new businesses in California have the best survival rate - or at least for the first year. And this is a crucial advantage in a country where 20% of startups never make it past that first critical 12 months.

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