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Entrepreneurs Gauge States’ Friendliness: Idaho #1

Mark Marich

If you are reading this, chances are you have seen any number of surveys and indices that rank the U.S. states according to their climate towards small business and entrepreneurs. Unlike other rankings, a new survey from has gone straight to the source. Partnering with the Kauffman Foundation, conducted a two-month survey of over 6,000 small business owners nationwide on the friendliness of states towards small business and about small business finances in order to measure states and cities along 21 metrics.

So what did they say? Idaho comes out on top with a slew of A+ grades for: ease of starting a business; regulations; health & safety; employment, labor & hiring; tax code; licensing; environmental; zoning; training programs; and networking programs. The only dark spot according to the state’s entrepreneurs was the additional costs to hiring new employees.

The home of Silicon Valley somewhat surprisingly comes out at the bottom of the list with an ‘F’ overall. California was dragged down by five F grades. The lone relative bright spots for California entrepreneurs were training programs (C-) and hiring costs (C-).

Some of the key findings include:

  • Small businesses said licensing requirements were nearly twice as important as tax-related regulations in determining their state or city government's overall business-friendliness.
  • An important predictor of small business friendliness was whether small business owners are aware of the state or local government offering training programs for small businesses.
  • Among small business owners nationally, women were 9% more likely than men to feel supported by their state governments.

Three cities in Texas made the top five—Dallas-Ft. Worth, San Antonio and Austin.

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