100 best places to live and launch

Are job worries tempting you to start your own company? We canvassed the country to find towns with the best mix of business advantages and lifestyle appeal. Check out our 100 top picks and find the perfect place to build your dream.

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1. Bellevue, Wash.
Population: 111,608
Pros: Talented workforce, growing downtown
Cons: Pricey homes, high cost of living

Like many of the places on our list, Bellevue is a city in transition: no longer a bedroom community, but not yet a crowded, expensive metropolitan hub. Bellevue has grown with unusual grace in recent years. Huge corporations exist symbiotically with startups, a booming downtown abuts healthy residential neighborhoods, and the rising skyline is tempered by an abundance of parks, as well as lakeside and mountain views. Flash retailers such as Neiman Marcus draw regional shoppers, but Bellevue's excellent healthcare and schools are key attractions for relocating families.

While local businesses must pay the statewide Business and Occupations tax on their gross receipts, there's no corporate income tax. Businesses with less than $135,000 in taxable revenues (the highest threshold in the area) don't have to pay the B&O tax. Easy airport access and a highly skilled workforce make Bellevue an attractive option for startups looking to break big. -Mina Kimes

Interactive map: Bellevue
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NEXT: 2. Georgetown, Texas
Last updated July 02 2008: 11:16 AM ET
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