Big Cities around the world have many challenges in common, including over population, sustainable development, the mitigation of issues such as climate change, and so forth. But many of them can also be grouped as tough places to do business.

A recent report by Arizona State University investigated dozens of major American Cities across the United States, Canada and Mexico, comparing the time, costs and number of steps required to kick off a new business. Little Rock, Arkansas, ranked as the most difficult City since requiring entrepreneurs to complete at least 10 legal steps over 63 days on average to get their company off the ground. The timeline is 50% longer than San Francisco, which ranked second.

The research team explored other categories such as the ease of employing workers, getting electricity, paying taxes, getting credit, registering property and resolving insolvency. Considering both business start and operations, they identified Oklahoma City as the best in North America: it scored high in all measured categories, particularly when it came to business-friendly rules and requirements for employing workers, registering property and accessing electricity.

In their transition towards better governance models, Smart Cities could use their technology investments to boost local economy and engage innovative entrepreneurs and startups. How is that possible? When urban development strategies are based on interoperability and openness, Cities design and implement multipurpose network infrastructures – the premise for public-private partnerships and shared innovation.

If are looking for real-life examples, go for Gijon in Spain, or San Leandro in the US, two successful Open Cities that turned technology into an opportunity for growth.