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Exploring the Role of Microbusinesses in Economic Growth and Recovery for US Cities

The Milken Institute’s 2021 Best-Performing Cities (BPC) index compares the recent performance of metro areas with a focus on job growth, wage growth, and high-tech GDP growth. Additional measures of broadband access and housing affordability were added to the index this year to reflect the levels of inclusive economic development.

The GoDaddy Venture Forward (VF) Initiative aims to quantify the contributions to local economic growth that come from microbusinesses with an online presence. Its research on microbusiness density across US metro areas provides insight into the opportunities that the online economy can provide to residents of local communities.

This paper marks a groundbreaking collaboration to better understand the contemporary landscape of economic opportunity across the United States. By comparing the rankings of nearly 400 metro areas on the BPC Index and VF rankings of microbusiness density, we have developed a unique illustration of the relationship between the two, and a set of recommendations for local policymakers to consider.

By understanding the value of their economic assets and taking steps to increase the level of microbusiness density, communities can generate new opportunities to provide a foundation for economic growth and recovery.