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Thumbtack.com and the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation Release Small Business Friendliness Survey

May 8, 2013. Thumbtack.com, in partnership with the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, has released the second-annual Thumbtack.com Small Business Friendliness Survey showing that North Carolina’s standing among small businesses improved from 2012, although state remains average in several categories. 

images-5The Thumbtack.com Small Business Friendliness Survey is the only survey to obtain data from an extensive, nationwide universe of job creators and entrepreneurs in order 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.

“In surveying thousands of small businesses across America, we found that clear and consistent regulations and relevant training programs were among their top priorities,” said Sander Daniels, co-founder of Thumbtack.com. “North Carolina’s improvement in these areas underscores the efforts of state and local officials to make North Carolina more friendly to small businesses.”

Some of the key findings for North Carolina include:

  • North Carolina earned a pair of ‘B+’ grades for its overall small business friendliness and for the ease of starting a business in the state.
  • The state earned a ‘B-‘ for its tax code, and small businesses ranked it in the bottom-third of states in terms of difficulty in understanding and filing taxes.
  • Among major metros nationwide, Raleigh-Durham was highly rated, earning an ‘A’ grade overall. Charlotte and Winston-Salem were given a ‘B’ and ‘C+’, respectively.

North Carolina’s lowest grade (a C-minus) was for the ease of hiring, particularly troubling given the state’s fifth-highest unemployment rate. However, the state ranked well for its training and networking programs, earning a grade of ‘B+’.

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.

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.

“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, easily searchable quotes from North Carolina small businesses, regional comparisons within states, and Census data comparing North Carolina’s key demographics against those of other states.

“I had no issues with starting my business and received some help from SCORE and the UNC Wilmington SBA. I did the rest of my research on my own and developed a great business.” Cleaner, Wilmington.

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.

What is Thumbtack.com?

Thumbtack is a place where you can hire help locally. Need painting professionals, general contractors, landscaping professionals or photographers?  Tell us what you need, and we’ll provide 3-5 bids on that job to your email inbox within 24 hours. More than 275,000 small businesses and freelancers have listed their services on Thumbtack nationwide.