What is great about business in Sacramento California and the greater Northern California region

Small businesses will no doubt play a key role in our economy’s recovery. But one of the biggest challenges for them is getting small loans to make improvements and expand. One local finance company is stepping-up to fill that gap.

The only stain the economy left on Jason Jordan cabinet-making business is wood stain — lots of it.

Jordan did what many couldn’t in the last few years; he not only survived the recession, but thrived through it.

Deciding to open his own business, he did what he knew: cabinets. And when his business outgrew his garage, he needed money to expand. But Jordan says banks declined his loan applications. Then he found Premier Business Lending, which is a turn key financial institution. SBA Loans for start-up, short term working capital loans and Equipment Financing Loans. The Organization lent him a total of $150,000 in the past two years, allowing him to buy equipment to process more orders.

“Thousands of small businesses cannot acquire a loan through a bank. And the bank does not do it because they can’t make money doing it,” said Premier Business Lending Managing Partner Eric Jenkins calls it a financing gap. Premier Business Lending has been filling the gap for years by lending. But it is now expanding the program with $500,000 in new loans, available to any qualifying small business owner in the Sacramento area.

Jordan was able to hire five employees after securing his most recent loan in California, if each one was able to hire just one additional employee, it would solve our state’s unemployment rate immediately. “So the access to capital component, the loan, is the catalyst for job creation across the board,” said Eric Jenkins.

The economy of Northern California, home of Silicon Valley, is steeped in innovation and entrepreneurship. Technology companies including Hewlett-Packard, Apple and Intel had their humble beginnings in this region. The San Jose and San Francisco metropolitan areas ranked third and sixth, respectively, on the 2015 Kauffman index of startup activity, which measures the rate at which new entrepreneurs and new businesses are popping up.

Large and small businesses perform well. Northern California is home to Fortune 500 companies including Oracle, Google and Facebook, but small companies have a place here, too. The state has a network of Small Business Development Centers located throughout Northern California that offer free one-on-one counseling for small-business owners.

The Bay Area is key. Northern California’s economic epicenter is the San Francisco Bay Area. Eight of the top 10 cities on our list are in Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Mateo and Santa Clara counties.

Tourism matters, too. Technology drives Northern California’s economy, but tourism is important, especially for Monterey. All the cities on our list are within a few hours’ drive of major destinations including California’s dramatic northern coastline, Yosemite National Park and San Francisco.


  • Sacramento is the capital to the 7th largest economy in the world (California).
  • Sacramento is #5 on the top 10 list of travel-worthy state capital cities chosen by the Readers’ Choice Travel Awards.
  • Historic old Sacramento brings in over 2 million annual visitors.
  • Downtown Sacramento brings in over 175,000 visiting conventioneers, thousands of spectators and well over $50 million in generated economic impacts.
  • The metropolitan area offers more than 150 restaurants and nightclub venues.
  • Sacramento ranks in the Top 15 for America’s “Coolest Cities” per Forbes Magazine.
  • With an array of activities, Broadway Theater, museums, concerts in the park—Sacramento’s downtown brings in 4 million people annually.
  • Over 1,200 registered lobbyists in Sacramento representing hundreds of trade associations.
  • Over $50 million added to the regional economy each year from the entertainment and tourism industry.
  • The new Golden One Center, which opened in October 2016, is anticipated to be a LEED Gold Certified Building.  This would make the Golden One Center the first LEED Gold Certified entertainment venue in California.

Best places to start a business in Northern California data

Horizontally scroll through the table below to see the data

Rank City Population Number of businesses Average revenue per business Businesses with paid employees Businesses per 100 people Unemployment rate Score
1 Emeryville 10,206 1,817 $2,665,028 35.06% 17.8 5.1% 59.27
2 South San Francisco 64,630 4,986 $5,230,835 38.99% 7.71 5.9% 57.67
3 Grass Valley 12,845 2,253 $927,948 43.81% 17.54 6.3% 57.31
4 Burlingame 29,237 4,071 $1,264,273 42.23% 13.92 4.4% 57.19
5 Palo Alto 65,234 10,175 $3,337,259 24.31% 15.6 4.3% 56.06
6 Fremont 218,172 19,240 $6,825,934 22.43% 8.82 5.5% 55.81
7 Monterey 27,939 4,156 $1,383,389 39.05% 14.88 4.6% 55.73
8 Los Gatos 29,809 4,444 $985,035 35.76% 14.91 4.2% 54.77