74 of 100
74. Columbus, Ind.
Population: 40,065
Pro: Strong manufacturing hub
Con: Young workers tend to move elsewhere

Columbus, Ind., lies within a 75-minute drive of Indianapolis and Louisville. The city houses the headquarters of Cummins, a Fortune 500 engine manufacturer and distributor, as well as the 48,000-square-foot IT center for auto supplier ArvinMeritor. Manufacturing is the town's primary industry, thanks largely to Cummins: The industry employs more than 15,000 workers and pays $1.1 billion in annual wages.

Now town business leaders are working to diversify the local economy by encouraging startups and recruiting firms to relocate to Columbus. Entrepreneurs will find guidance at the small business incubator known as the Columbus Enterprise Development Center, which offers 30,000 square feet of floor space for new businesses as well as guidance on all aspects of running a business, from securing financing to marketing to business planning.

Taxes have remained stable for more than a decade, and residents expect free city-wide wireless access by the end of the year. Columbus hopes to make itself more attractive to younger workers by encouraging competitively salaried development work in tourism, healthcare, and advanced manufacturing. Those workers who do stick around will get to enjoy a town ranked sixth in the nation for architectural innovation and design by the American Institute of Architects. -Kelsey Abbott

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Last updated July 02 2008: 11:16 AM ET
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