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With Vastly Lower Costs, Mid-Size Cities Give the Hard Sell to Start-Ups

Affordability and public support is helping a handful of Southern U.S. cities seem more attractive to entrepreneurs. But can it last?
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Flickr/Halsenberg Media

Some of Louisville's brightest start-up entrepreneurs gathered together two weeks ago. The event was cordial and in some ways predictable: Light refreshments were served while local and visiting venture capitalists led a series of discussions. Nevertheless, underlying the niceties was a sense of urgency, embodied in the event's title: “Stop Thinking Small, Louisville."

Brian Wallace, a local tech entrepreneur who organized the event, wanted to deliver a blunt message: Louisville is missing its opportunity to poach start-up activity from coastal giants like New York and San Francisco.