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Where to build a business

You can imagine the reaction I get when I tell people I have a company focused on China and global sustainability but am based in a tiny town in the Berkshire Hills, in remote rural New England. I’ve just come across this article in Business Week, “The Pros of Planting Startups in Smaller Cities”. It’s thought-provoking. There are signfiicant practical advantages to being outside a big urban center, and when I first started running a business here I wanted to see other media companies come to the area and to be part of creating a new economic base for the town. Unfortunately Great Barrington has no university, the schools are middling, and the cost of living is high. The restaurants are quite good and the food shops are extraordinary — I can get excellent European cheeses, perfectly kept, only five minutes’ walk from my house — but I can’t say this is ideal business terrain and many of the other small companies I knew as part of a regional economic development network 7 or 8 years ago are gone. As a home office for Berkshire Publishing, Great Barrington works well, because our work is with global networks anyhow, not with people in one major city or another. And however much time I spend away this is a place to come home to.

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