The Central Coast is one of the worst places to start a small business or startup, according to a ranking by RewardExpert, thanks to high rents, low office space availability and high cost of living.
The list ranked the Central Coast — including San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Santa Maria and Salinas — as the fourth worst for starting a small business in the country. The Inland Empire/Bakersfield region (including Riverside, San Bernardino and Ontario) was ranked third worst, and the Central Valley (including Fresno, Visalia, Porterville, Merced, Modesto, Stockton and Lodi) ranked fifth.
The worst region was Charleston, South Carolina.
According to a news release, after analyzing individual metropolitan areas, roughly 90 percent of the worst areas to start a business were in California and Florida. To provide more insight, the group chose to group similar geographic and economic regions together, i.e. Central Coast, Central Valley, etc.
When looking at just the metropolitan area rankings, the San Luis Obispo-Arroyo Grande-Paso Robles region was ranked 13th worst, behind Salinas (12th) and Santa Maria (11th).
According to the release, the Central Coast scored low because of expensive office spaces, low vacancy, low use of public transportation, high commuter costs and high housing costs.
RewardExpert also issued a list of the best places to start a small business: those included Bridgeport/Stamford/Norwalk, Connecticut; Boston/Cambridge/Newton, Massachusetts; and the winner, Denver/Aurora/Lakewood, Colorado.
Editor's note: A previous version of this story gave the wrong location for Charleston.