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7. Denver
Population: 555,932
Pros: Rocky Mountain lifestyle, strong economy
Con: Traffic

Denver entrepreneurs enjoy the best of both worlds, with urban amenities downtown and the extensive Rocky Mountain playground just beyond the city limits. The city has worked overtime to attract and retain businesses of all sizes: The Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation is a truly regional economic development entity, with more than 70 partner organizations working to keep the area's economic outlook as bright as its weather (300 days of sunshine each year).

The completion last year of a major phase of a massive downtown light rail build-out (other phases are scheduled for completion over the next 15 years), plus extensive highway-widening projects, aim to help ease rush-hour woes in the Mile High metro area. A highly educated workforce supports a diversifying economy, with growth in aerospace, IT, biosciences, energy and financial services. Denver entrepreneurs ranked fourth in the nation for landing funding from the federal government's Small Business Innovation Research program. -Shara Rutberg

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Last updated July 02 2008: 11:16 AM ET
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