Best States for Entrepreneurs 2011

Charlotte, NC skyline

Best States for Business 2010

In Chief Executive’s annual survey of best and worst states for business, conducted earlier this year, 651 CEOs across the U.S. again gave Texas top honors, closely followed by North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia. They gave the booby prize for worst state to California, with New York, Michigan, New Jersey and Massachusetts filling out the bottom five-a line-up virtually unchanged from last year. Florida and Georgia each dropped three places in the ranking, but remain in the top 10. Utah jumped six positions this year to sneak into the top 10 at No. 9.

The business leaders were asked to draw upon their direct experience to rate each state in three general categories: taxation and regulation, quality of workforce and living environment. Within each category respondents graded states in five subcategories, as well as ranking each in terms of its importance to the respondent and how individual states measure up.

From Chief Executive:

Texas fares competitively with Nevada and Delaware in terms of taxation and regulatory environment, but scored best overall, in no small measure because of the perception that its government’s attitude to business is ideal. Runner-up North Carolina edged Texas slightly in its living environment, but scored somewhat below the Lone Star state in terms of government attitude to business and work ethic, which is a sine qua non for the business leaders. After employee work ethic, CEOs most highly prize lower tax rates and perceived attitudes toward business, followed by living environment considerations, such as real estate costs and education.

Lone Star Leader

By contrast, Texas, the second-most populous state and the world’s 12th largest economy, is where 70 percent of all new U.S. jobs have been created since 2008. Unsurprisingly, it scores high in all the areas CEOs value most. “You feel like state government understands the value of business and industry to create jobs and growth,” observed one CEO.

Southern Smarts

With 6 of the top 10 states for business located in the South: North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Florida, Georgia and South Carolina rounding out the top 10, its clear that the main categories examined: Cost of Doing business, Workforce, Quality of Life, Economy, Transportation & Infrastructure, Technology & Innovation, Education, Business Friendliness, Access to Capital and Cost of Living are indications that we have it all.

America’s Top States for Business 2010

CNBC Also completed a special rankings report on America’s Top States for Business 2010 – They scored all 50 states—using publicly available data—on 40 different measures of competitiveness. States received points based on their rankings in each metric. Then, they separated those metrics into the ten broad categories, with input from business groups including the National Association of Manufacturers. They weighted the categories based on how frequently each is cited in state economic development marketing materials.


Maybe I’m biased because I have been living in the South for over a decade, but having visited 8 of the top 10 states (Utah & Colorado excluded) I can say without bias that North Carolina (Charlotte in particular) is a great location for entrepreneurs as I was able to start my own social media agency in this area in 2007 and have found great success not only for my business but for also the clients I do work with in the region.

Please leave a comment below as I’m interested to hear about your experiences in business and whether or not the regional landscape depicted where you founded or relocated your company.

(Image Credits: Tonyshi)

Best States for Entrepreneurs 2011
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One Response to “Best States for Entrepreneurs 2011”

  1. [...] year I blogged about North Carolina being ranked in the top 5 states for entrepreneurs and am proud that the state I have built my business in is now in the top 3 states for business in [...]

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