Sat10252014

Business & Real Estate

Small businesses rank Bay Area tops in state

Thumbtack.com recently released its second Small Business Friendliness Survey, which again rated the Bay Area the friendliest small-business region in California.

The survey, conducted in partnership with the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, compiles data from nationwide job creators and entrepreneurs to rank business-friendly locations. The survey includes full sets of rankings, regional comparisons within states and U.S. Census data comparing California’s key demographics against those of other states.

“In surveying thousands of small businesses across America, we found that clear and consistent regulations and relevant training programs are among the most important factors in determining how they view their region’s friendliness,” said Sander Daniels, co-founder of Thumbtack.com. “Given the enormous size and importance of California’s economy, it is particularly important that state and local officials listen to the concerns of the state’s small-business owners and provide them with an environment conducive to growth and success.”

Following are the key findings for California.

• The Bay Area was the top-rated region in the state by small businesses for the second consecutive year, followed by the Central Coast. San Francisco was the state’s highest-ranking city, followed by San Jose.

• California earned a D grade, up from an F in 2012. Although the state struggled overall, it ranked above average for its online resources for small businesses.

• 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 new businesses.

• 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.

• The Bay Area ranked highest in the state in terms of the availability of helpful small-business training and networking programs.

• Within California, more than one-third of small businesses rated securing and maintaining health insurance “very difficult.”

For full survey results, visit www.thumbtack.com/ca/#2013/state.

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