Utah’s Business-Friendly Environment Gets Attention

For the second year in a row, Utah has been named the most small business-friendly state in the country in the Small Business Friendliness Survey conducted by Thumbtack.com in partnership with the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.


“After a two-month survey of thousands of small business owners nationwide, Utah has emerged as the top state for business friendliness once again,” says Jon Lieber, Chief Economist of Thumbtack. “Creating a business climate that is welcoming to small, dynamic businesses is more important than ever, and for small businesses looking for an educated workforce and a welcoming environment, Utah is a great place to locate.”

In the survey’s third year, Utah improved almost all of its scores in the different categories to earn an A+ in nine of the 11 categories, which include: overall friendliness, ease of starting a business, ease of hiring, regulations, employment, labor and hiring, tax code, licensing, environmental, and zoning. Utah tied with Idaho for the most A+ grades, but fared better in ease of hiring. The lowest grade Utah received was a B+ in visibility of training and networking programs, which the state ranked 14th in, so it’s still better than most states. Salt Lake City, in particular, also performed well in the survey as the friendliest city west of Texas.

One of the key findings for Utah from the survey was that the small businesses in Utah were the most optimistic about the outlook for their state economy, and the 6th most optimistic about the economy on the national scale. The survey also found that “small businesses reported improvement from 2013 both in the ease of hiring and hiring regulations, but training programs continue to be a relative weak spot for the state.”

Just because the training programs may not be well-known doesn’t mean they aren’t there. Programs through the Small Business Administration and those like the Chamber’s Women’s Business Center can be great resources for those wanting to start a small business by providing training, consulting, access to capital and grants, and much more. The objective of the Utah Small Business Coalition to bring more awareness to the number of organizations offering tools and resources for small business in Utah as well. 

The full survey results can be seen here and include full sets of rankings for states and cities going back three years, along with dozens of easily searchable quotes from Utah small businesses.

The Small Business Friendliness Survey draws upon data from over 12,000 small business owners, providing new insights into state and local business environments across the nation. 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. The top rated states overall were Utah, Idaho, Texas, Virginia and Louisiana. The lowest rated were Rhode Island, Illinois, California, Connecticut and New Jersey.