Downtown Tulsa

Tulsa was ranked among the top 50 cities in the country to start a business and it came out on top in wage growth, according to Inc. magazine. TOM GILBERT/Tulsa World file

Tulsa ranks No. 1 in America for wage growth on Inc. magazine’s annual Surge Cities list, a guide to the best 50 cities in the United States for starting a business.

Featured on the list for the first time, Tulsa was 47th overall. Wage growth was among the criteria measuring the top cities in the country on Inc.’s second annual list.

“We are honored to be recognized as one of Inc.’s 2020 Surge Cities,” Devon Laney, CEO of 36 Degrees North, said in a statement. “It’s validation of the alignment and collaboration among dozens of organizations committed to building Tulsa’s innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystems.

The new cost for doing business in Tulsa.

For those who care about business and this community, we have a deal for you. Start a digital subscription for only $0.99. Sign up now at

“As Tulsa’s base camp for entrepreneurs, we understand how critically important having impactful connections and resources are to growing successful businesses. The Surge Cities designation showcases that Tulsa is one of the best places in America to find them.”

Austin, Texas, ranks No. 1 overall on the list. Oklahoma City is 39th.

Inc.’s Surge Cities partner, innovation policy firm Startup Genome, used public data as well as insights from the Inc. 5000 list of the fastest-growing private companies in America to compile the city rankings. Startup Genome developed its scoring system based on three traits that determine a surge city: growth, opportunity and innovation.

“Inc. has long believed in the alchemy of entrepreneurial innovation and community,” Inc. Acting Editor-in-Chief Jon Fine said in a statement. “We’re excited to see, for the second year in a row, how well some smaller cities are competing with — indeed, even besting — the likes of San Francisco, New York and Boston.”

Per capita income in the Tulsa metropolitan statistical area is estimated to have risen 11.1 percent in 2018, after a 7.4 percent gain in 2017, according to Per capita income in the state grew 3.8 percent, and per capita income in the U.S. grew 3.6 percent in 2018.

“Community support has been most important for the city’s founders,” Inc. wrote in its piece. “Tulsa’s Regional Chamber, technical-training school Tulsa Tech and various charitable institutions came together to launch the nonprofit co-working space 36 Degrees North. Area entrepreneurs get an additional boost from local incubator the Forge as well as early-stage investment and business advisory firm i2E.”

The magazine also noted Tulsa’s strong talent pipeline generated by area universities and the George Kaiser Family Foundation’s Tulsa Remote program, which offers workers $10,000 to move to the city. The program approved 100 visitors in its first year and recently announced that it would increase that number to 250 in year two.

“The Surge Cities list shows that the proliferation of new businesses is not limited to the largest cities in the U.S.,” Arnobio Morelix, chief innovation officer at Startup Genome, said in a statement. He added that connectivity “is what really jump starts a young business’s revenue growth. Matter of fact, highly connected founders grow their revenue twice as fast as those with few connections.”

The complete Surge Cities list is accessible at

Featured video

59 downtown Tulsa development projects coming soon or recently completed

Subscribe to Daily Headlines

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Rhett Morgan 918-581-8395

Twitter: @RhettMorganTW