An association representing small businesses across the United States certainly likes Raleigh.

The National Federation of Independent Businesses, which has more than 8,000 members in North Carolina, has named Raleigh as the No. 2 best city to start a business.

No. 1 went to Silicon Valley.

While the group did not spell out selection criteria, it hailed Raleigh as “no flash in the pan.”

“With a population under 500,000, Raleigh attracts companies transferring from more expensive locales,” the NFIB says. “Not only was it ranked the top city for business and careers by Forbes, thanks to being the fastest growing job market in the U.S.; it’s also the country’s fastest growing city, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

“This is no flash in the pan. According to, Raleigh has experienced the third-highest job growth among U.S. cities over the past two decades. Added bonuses include safety, affordable housing and access to a much larger suburban population.”

Silicon Valley was cited for its strength in venture capital.

“The best cities that spawn entrepreneurship and new business typically are near a research university or a significant engineering school,” Denise Beeson, a small business loan officer in Santa Rosa, Calif., told the NFIB.

“In Silicon Valley, you get both,” the group says.

The lack of venture capital in Raleigh, across the Triangle and the entire state of North Carolina has been a problem years.

NFIB said it went looking for cities that were “business-friendly locations for you to start your next venture.”

Five cities were picked.

No. 3 is Madison, Wosc.

Austin, Texas came in fourth.

Boulder Colo. was ranked fifth.