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Denver earns 'A-' from small businesses, up from 'B+' in 2012

Friday, May 31, 2013   (0 Comments)
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Denver earns 'A-' from small businesses, up from 'B+' in 2012

Colorado also improves, receiving 'A' overall

"Denver has a very entrepreneurial flavor and is definitely supportive of small business, both in terms of available resources and reasonable rules."

Consultant, Denver

(San Francisco, CA) 4/29/2013:, in partnership with the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, has released the second-annual Small Business Friendliness Survey showing that both Denver and Colorado performed well in this year's rankings. In addition to high marks for its overall small business friendliness, the city was praised for its training programs aimed at small businesses.

The 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.

"Practical resources and responsive city leaders go a long way towards creating a business-friendly atmosphere,” said Sander Daniels, co-founder of "Denver small businesses expressed satisfaction that the city is supplying both of these.”

Some of the key findings for Denver - and Colorado generally - include:

  • Denver earned an 'A-' grade for its overall small business friendliness, bettering last year's 'B+'.
  • Small businesses gave the city a 'B+' for its licensing regulations and a 'B+' for the quality and availability of the city's training and networking programs.
  • Colorado also improved, going from an 'A-' in 2012 to an 'A' grade in 2013. The state also ranked in the top 10 for its online small business resources.
  • 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 cities overall were Austin, Virginia Beach-Norfolk, Houston, Colorado Springs and San Antonio. The lowest rated were Los Angeles, San Diego, Cincinnati, Sacramento and, in last place, Newark, NJ.
  • Although Denver performed well overall, local small businesses gave the city a 'C+' for its zoning regulations for a second year.

"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 Denver small businesses, regional comparisons within states, and Census data comparing Denver's key demographics against those of other cities.

"Denver has been a small business-friendly city. Mayor Hancock has an initiative offering networking, classes and other resources which I have found helpful. Denver Metro Small Business Development Center has also been a useful online resource."

Pet care provider, Denver

Survey methodology 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.

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