Thumbtack.com, in partnership with the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, today released new data showing that Virginia earned the highest possible grade for overall business friendliness, the regulatory environment, and the ease of licensing programs.
More than 12,000 entrepreneurs nationwide participated in this year’s survey. The Thumbtack.com Small Business Friendliness Survey is the largest survey of its kind and is the only survey to obtain data from an extensive, nationwide sample of small business owners themselves to determine the most business-friendly locations.
While there are various “business climate rankings” that rate locations as good or bad for business, there are no others that draw upon considerable data from small business owners themselves. This year our team was able to rate 82 cities and most states across multiple metrics that business owners say are critical to a friendly business environment.
“After a two-month survey of thousands of small business owners nationwide, business owners have reaffirmed that Virginia is a premier destination for starting and running a business,” said Jon Lieber, Chief Economist of Thumbtack.com. “Creating a business climate that is welcoming to small, dynamic businesses is more important than ever, and Virginia’s A+ grade by its small businesses shows what a welcoming and friendly place the Commonwealth is for entrepreneurs.”
Some of the key findings for Virginia include:
- Virginia earned a top-five rating for the friendliness of its health and safety, labor, and licensing regulations.
- African-American small business owners felt significantly more supported by the Virginia state government than others, reporting overall friendliness scores that were 14 percent higher than the overall state friendliness score.
- Among cities in Virginia, Richmond earned a grade of A and Virginia Beach earned an A- for overall friendliness; Richmond was 3rd in the nation for friendliness of licensing, and Virginia Beach was 4th.
- Virginia has never earned less than an A for overall friendliness in previous Kauffman/Thumbtack surveys.
- Virginia’s small businesses were the third most optimistic in the nation when it came to plans to hire more employees in the next twelve months.
“It is critical to the economic health of every city and state to create an entrepreneur-friendly environment,” said Dane Stangler, vice president 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.”