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Here listed are the most promising industries for start-ups – data was gathered from the Bureau Of Labor Statistics and from private research groups such as Sageworks,IBISWorld, and

1.  Environmental Consulting

If you thought going green was a fad, think again. Environmental consulting is a robust and growing industry, valued at $17.8 billion, according to IBISWorld. Growth of 9 percent a year over the next five years is expected. This industry is well suited to independent contractors with the skills to install environmental gear such as wind turbines, solar panels, and green roofs. Every sector, from government to the individual household level, is expected to thrive. Looking to specialize? Expertise will be in demand in the fields of air-, soil-, and water-quality management, as well as sustainability studies as they pertain to development projects.

2. Translation and Interpretation Services

Talk is cheap, but solid communications are priceless in this global economy. The U.S. military and businesses expanding overseas are two of the translation and interpretation industry’s best customers. Overall, the market grew some 18 percent last year. According to, the translation and interpretation services industry is a $2.7 billion market that has grown an average of 22 percent a year since 2004. The healthcare industry is another area in need of language, due in part to the growing U.S. immigrant population. Many opportunities exist in the business-to-business space as well, which includes website translation and creation of multi-language marketing materials. There are also related tech opportunities in the burgeoning market for mobile on-demand translation via SMS.

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3. Home Health Care

Despite this year’s legislation, health care costs – particularly at hospitals and primary-care providers – are soaring. As the elderly population also grows and demands less expensive, out-of-hospital care, the industry is expected to expand by an average of 4.9 percent through 2014, according to IBISWorld. This industry, which was also on Inc.’s 2009 list, has been strong for years and yet retains a low barrier to entry. Sub-sectors of the field include physical therapy and ambulatory delivery of new technologies. Non-medical home-care hiring is expected to grow by more than 50 percent before 2018

4. Mobile App Design

Sure, iPhones have been around for a while. But with the advent of the iPad, explosive sales of Android phones and an ever-expanding market for mobile apps that work on any Web-enabled phone, there is plenty of fresh territory for programmers, developers, and designers. One tip: Keep location in mind. Venture capitalists and industry experts alike expect the location-aware economy to grow at the rate social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, have over recent years. In the past three years, companies that make location-based apps alone have received $656 million in 67 deals, according to Dow Jones VentureSource.

5.  Ferryboats And Inland Water Transportation

As highways in and around urban centers become more congested, the old-fashioned ferryboat is making a comeback. Privately run ferry services, as well as tourist excursions, are thriving along the Pacific Northwest coast and on the Great Lakes. Given that significant spending for building ferryboats and terminals is part of the 2009 economic recovery act, opportunities are expanding. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, job growth in the water transportation industry is expected to grow 15 percent through 2018. The industry grew 17 percent last year, according to Barriers to entry, though, are steep. A new Coast Guard-certified ferryboat that carries 150 passengers costs about $6 million.

6. Bakeries And Baked Goods

Little treats have a sugar-glazed forecast. Bakeries, pastry shops, and bagel sellers are growing at a rate of 5 percent, according to Research suggests small indulgences are picking up whereas big purchases such as vacations are not – but blogger and baked goods expert Nichelle Stephens, co-editor of the prominent sweets blog Cupcakes Take The Cake, says the movement is expanding into high-end foodie territory. “It’s focused on small batches, local suppliers, seasonal ingredients, and lots of creativity when it comes to flavors and combinations,” she says.


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