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Article

Utah Ranks First in Small Business-Friendliness

Press Release

April 3, 2013

Thumbtack.com, in partnership with the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, has released the second-annual Thumbtack.com Small Business Friendliness Survey showing that Utah has risen from a number four ranking in 2012 to take the top spot this year.

The Thumbtack.com Small Business Friendliness Survey obtains data from an extensive, nationwide universe of job creators and entrepreneurs in order to determine the most business-friendly locations.

“Thanks to its business-friendly regulations and innovative growth initiatives, it should come as no surprise that the Beehive State is number one in this year's survey,” said Sander Daniels, co-founder of Thumbtack.com. “Utah really sets the standard for creating an environment in which small businesses can thrive and grow”

Some of the key findings for Utah include:

Small businesses rated Utah the number one state overall and gave the state an 'A' grade for its business-friendly regulatory systems.

Utah earned an 'A-plus' grade for the ease of starting a new business in the state and a 'B+' for its small business training and networking programs. Utah also ranked in the top 10 for best online resources.

Nationally, professional licensing requirements were more important to small business owners than taxes in determining a state’s overall business-friendliness, confirming the findings from last year’s study.

On average, African-American and Hispanic small business owners were more likely than their white counterparts to encourage others to start a new business.

The top ranking states overall were Utah, Alabama, New Hampshire, Idaho, and Texas. The lowest rated were Illinois, California, Hawaii, Maine and, in last place, Rhode Island.

Salt Lake City performed well among major cities nationwide, earning an 'A' for the second year in a row.

Utah earned an 'A-minus' for its licensing requirements, and the state's lowest grade was a 'B' for the ease of hiring additional employees.

“It is critical to the economic health of every city and state to create an entrepreneur-friendly environment,” said Dane Stangler, director of research and policy at the Kauffman Foundation.  “Policymakers put themselves in the best position to encourage sustainable growth and long-term prosperity by listening to the voices of small business owners themselves.”

The full survey results can be seen here and include full sets of rankings, searchable quotes from Utah small businesses, regional comparisons within states, and Census data comparing Utah's key demographics against those of other states.

Survey methodology

Thumbtack.com surveyed 7,766 small businesses across the United States. The survey asked questions about the friendliness of states and cities toward small business, such as:

  • "In general, how would you rate your state’s support of small business owners?”
  • “Would you discourage or encourage someone from starting a new business where you live?” and
  • “Do you think you pay your fair share of taxes?”

Thumbtack and Kauffman ranked states and cities against one another along more than a dozen metrics. The full methodology paper can be found here.

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