Bakersfield is launching startups faster than Seattle, Boston, and the Bay Area according to a new ranking by Inc. magazine.
The city is listed among the 50 best in America for starting a business in 2020.
Bakersfield historically has been mocked as the ‘armpit of California.’ Mostly known for drilling oil and growing crops, Bakersfield is now getting a name for growing entrepreneurs.
“I believe Bakersfield has a lot to offer for entrepreneurs. We have lower costs here, we have a lot of diversity in both our population and the industries that are in Kern County,” said JP Lake, the co-founder of Kern Venture Group.
The company is Bakersfield’s first angel investing firm. One hundred percent of its money stays local, which has helped the spike in startups.
“Some of the other prominent start-up scenes, they’re almost very hyper-competitive, and they’re very expensive to live in,” Lake said.
Startups are especially booming in the Hispanic community.
“We’re coming together as a collaborative effort, all of us in this community that are business-oriented, and we’re assisting these members,” said Hispanic Chamber of Commerce president Jay Tamsi.
In Bakersfield, about 8,500 businesses are Hispanic owned. That’s a third of all companies in town.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the number of Hispanic businesses grew 36 percent from 2007 to 2012. That’s more than any other demographic.
“I think that Hispanic businesses are thriving because they are reaching out to local folks that are out there providing business services,” Tamsi said.