Best State to Start a Business in? Florida Still Has Work to Do

By: Nancy Smith Sunshine State News

Democrats who claim Gov. Rick Scott and the Florida Legislature give businesses too many breaks might want to reconsider.

According to a new report from WalletHub, “2018’s Best & Worst States to Start a Business,” the governor and lawmakers who aim each year for a better state business climate are on the right track.

Florida ranks No. 6 among the 50 states as a successful place to start a new business. But it could have scored closer to the top if its “access to resources” (ranked at No. 21) and “business costs” (ranked at No. 25) were more competitive.

WalletHub, based in Washington, D.C. and owned by Evolution Finance, Inc., puts out this state ranking annually. The study compared the 50 states across 25 key indicators of startup success to determine the most fertile grounds to launch and grow an enterprise.

The company has shown evidence a state that provides the ideal conditions for business creation — access to cash, skilled workers and affordable office space, for instance — can help new ventures not only take off but thrive.

According to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data, about a fifth of all startups typically don’t survive past year one of operation, and nearly half never make it to their fifth anniversary.

Startups fail for different reasons, says the report, a “bad location” among the most common. Choosing the right state for a business is therefore crucial to its success.

Florida ranks No. 3 in highest average growth in number of small businesses; No.46 in most accessible financing; and No. 22 in lowest labor costs.

The states that rank above it in overall best state to start a business are No. 5, Oklahoma; No. 4, Montana; No. 3, Georgia; No. 2, Utah; and No. 1, Texas.

The five worst states to start a business are No. 46, Pennsylvania; No. 47, Vermont; No. 48, Rhode Island; No. 49, New Hampshire; and No. 50, Hawaii.

Among 2018’s best small cities to start a business, Florida’s best entry is Fort Myers at No. 10, then Dania Beach at No. 24 and Boca Raton at No. 28.

For 2018’s best cities for Hispanic entrepreneurs, Florida’s highest scorer was Pembroke Pines at No. 6, then Miami at No. 11 and Tampa at No. 16. The worst-scoring city for Hispanics to spread their wings is Tallahassee at No. 120 out of 182 measured. Overall, the worst cities in this category were Bridgeport, Conn. at No. 180; Providence, R.I. at No. 181; and New Haven, Conn. at No. 182.

WalletHub fully explains its methodology at the conclusion of this report.

Reach Nancy Smith at  Twitter: @NancyLBSmith