America’s Best Laboratories for Entrepreneurship: Idaho, Texas, Oklahoma, & Utah

May 8, 2012

Thinking about starting a small business? If so, one of your first decisions should be choosing the right location. While federal policies have a deep impact on small businesses everywhere, state and local policies also play a huge role in determining the opportunity for small business success.

Survey data released today shows that Idaho, Texas, Oklahoma, and Utah earn an A+ for their friendliness towards small businesses. In contrast, small business owners gave California, Hawaii, Vermont, and Rhode Island an F, while New York narrowly avoided this lowest category with a D grade.  

The survey, released by in partnership with the Kauffman Foundation, draws considerable data directly from small business owners. Check out their interactive map—it provides a great resource for aspiring entrepreneurs and small business owners—as well the state and local leaders seeking to attract them!

“Six thousand small business owners have told an unusually nuanced story about what they value in their state or city government,” said Sander Daniels, co-founder of “Although Texas and Idaho clearly come out on top as the nation's friendliest states towards small business, entrepreneurs value a lot more than just low tax rates. Easy-to-understand licensing regulations and well-publicized training programs are often overlooked as critical tools necessary to support small business.”

Other key findings include:

  • Small businesses care almost twice as much about licensing regulations as they do about tax rates when rating the business-friendliness of their state or local government.
  • An important predictor of small business friendliness was whether small business owners are aware of their state or city government offering training programs for small businesses.
  • Small business owners ranked Oklahoma City and Dallas-Ft. Worth as the most business-friendly cities.

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