We can safely say that 2017 was the Year of the Entrepreneur in Bend. According to a report from EagerLaw PC, there was one new business registration in Bend for every 28 residents last year. That gave Bend more registered businesses per capita (for cities larger than 30,000) than anywhere else in the state.

EagerLaw PC used data from the Oregon Secretary of State’s office for its report. In the news release, Jeff Eager notes that the next closest city with as many business registrations per capita was Lake Oswego.

“You know that thing about Bend being an entrepreneurial city? It is. Big time. There was one 2017 business registration in Bend for every 28 residents. In other words, walk down your street and chances are someone and probably multiple someone’s on your street registered a business in 2017,” attorney Jeff Eager said.

From the news release:

Portland, which registered the largest total number of businesses but also, by far, the largest population, only registered one business for every 84 residents. The statewide average was a business registration for every 65 residents.

Oregon Secretary of State Registrations by City
Bend Entrepreneur Report 2017

Location Total New Reg. Jan-Dec  2017 Population # of Residents per New Business Registered in 2017
STATEWIDE: 62803 4,093,465 65.17
Bend: 3261 91,122 27.94
Lake Oswego: 1300 38,945 29.95
Grants Pass: 977 37,779 38.66
Keizer: 1001 38,980 38.94
Beaverton: 2441 97,590 39.97
Salem: 3270 167,419 51.19
Eugene: 3215 166,575 51.81
Medford: 1392 81,636 58.64
Gresham: 1818 111,523 61.34
Tigard: 735 51,902 70.61
Corvallis: 804 57,110 71.03
Albany: 685 53,211 77.68
Portland: 7597 639,863 84.22
Springfield: 707 61,893 87.54
Hillsboro: 1148 105,164 91.60
Aloha: 160 53,879 336.74

EagerLaw’s report definitely matches with what we observed last year as well. We watched numerous people start companies and/or turn their solopreneur business into something bigger. All this creative and entrepreneurial energy also likely contributed to Bend’s recent ranking by the Milken Institute as THE best-performing small city of 2017.

The Milken Institute’s BPC index measures metropolitan areas’ economic performance using outcomes-based metrics such as job creation, wage gains, and technology developments to evaluate the metros’ relative growth, according to the website. This is the second year in a row that Bend has claimed the top spot.

Top 10 Best-Performing Small Cities 2017

Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) /
Metropolitan Division (MD)
2017 Rank 2016 Rank Change
Bend-Redmond, OR (MSA) 1 1 Steady
St. George, UT (MSA) 2 4 +2
Gainesville, GA (MSA) 3 10 +7
San Rafael, CA (MD) 4 3 -1
Wenatchee, WA (MSA) 5 36 +31
Elkhart-Goshen, IN (MSA) 6 39 +33
Yuba City, CA (MSA) 7 45 +38
Bellingham, WA (MSA) 8 76 +68
Columbus, IN (MSA) 9 7 -2
Auburn-Opelika, AL (MSA) 10 6 -4

It definitely felt like 2017 was a year filled up with hard work. Excited to keep the momentum going in 2018.

Kelly Kearsley

Kelly Kearsley, the co-founder of StartupBend.com, is passionate about startups, entrepreneurship and Bend. In addition to writing this blog, she creates content and manages content projects for global financial companies, tech firms and startups. She began her career as a newspaper journalist and later worked as a freelance writer. Her work has appeared in WSJ.com, Money Magazine, CNNMoney, MSNBC and Runner's World. See her work at kellykearsley.contently.com or kellykearsley.com.

You can reach Kelly by email at [email protected].
Kelly Kearsley