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Top 5 Indian cities for entrepreneurs

India, Asia’s second largest economy and the world’s largest democracy, is in the midst of a crucial election. For entrepreneurs, there are a number of cities that offer the best opportunities for starting a business

Several cities in India are making a name for themselves as excellent business hubs 

With more than a billion of its citizens set to vote in a general election that could determine how business friendly the country becomes, India is somewhere that entrepreneurs the world see great potential in. Last year a study conducted by the World Bank and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) looked at the challenges and potential of doing business in India.

Business Destinations has compiled the five cities that all budding entrepreneurs should head to for the best opportunities in a country notorious for placing bureaucratic hurdles in front of people trying to do business.

1. New Delhi

Population: 17.8m citizens
Key industries: Services/retail

Sunrise at India Gate. New Delhi
Sunrise at India Gate, New Delhi

India’s capital and the heart of the country’s political scene, New Delhi’s sprawling borders have seen a number of businesses set up shop over the last decade. A startling array of shiny, expensive new shopping malls have also sprouted up, highlighting the city’s reputation as a retail hub. The World Bank says it is the easiest city to start a business in India.

2. Patna

Population: 1.7m citizens
Key industry: Agriculture

Bridge over Ganga River at Patna, India
Bridge over Ganga River at Patna, India

The most populous city in the eastern state of Bihar, Patna is emerging as one of the country’s most promising economic hubs. A leading agricultural centre, Patna is where huge quantities of sugarcane, sesame, grain and race are trading. The World Bank believes Patna to be second only to Delhi as a place to start a business.

3. Mumbai

Population: 12.7m citizens
Key industries: Financial services/commerce

Boats in Mumbai harbor, with Taj Mahal hotel in the background
Boats in Mumbai harbor, with Taj Mahal hotel in the background

The country’s second largest city and commercial hub, Mumbai is where international businesses flock when first entering India. Primarily the country’s financial centre, it is home to many of India’s leading conglomerates, such as the Tata Group, Reliance, and the State Bank of India, and much of the country’s financial capital.

4. Jaipur

Population: 3.4m citizens
Key industries: Tourism/IT

View of Jaipur, India
View of Jaipur, India

The capital of the north-western state of Rajasthan, Jaipur has traditionally been known for its many tourist attractions. Jaipur has in recent years begun to act as a hub of technological innovation. The Mahindra Special Economic Zone is one of the largest in the country, and IT groups Infosys and Genpact are based there.

5. Hyderabad

Population: 9.1m citizens
Key industry: Manufacturing

A view of the Charminar Mosque in Hyderabad, India
A view of the Charminar Mosque in Hyderabad, India

The southern city of Hyderabad has long been the most important manufacturing centre of the country. In recent years it has seen a number of pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies emerge within its borders, and it has set up infrastructure to support these industries. Hyderabad has also been known as the ‘City of Pearls’, on account of its rich history in the pearl trade.

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