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Virginia Earns 'A' Grade From Small Businesses for Second Year in a Row

Virginia Earns 'A' Grade From Small Businesses for Second Year in a Row
Virginia Earns 'A' Grade From Small Businesses for Second Year in a Row
Virginia Earns 'A' Grade From Small Businesses for Second Year in a Row

 Across the board, Virginia’s business climate received flawless ratings. From the ease of starting a business to training and networking programs, the state of Virginia has improved in almost all categories.  

On April 19,, in partnership with the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, released their second annual Small Business Friendliness Survey showing that Virginia continues to be a top state for small businesses. On the whole, the survey ranks the friendliness of states and cities towards small businesses. The rankings are based on a survey of more than 7,700 real small business owners nationwide. Virginia excelled, earning an overall ‘A’ grade -  a repeat of its ‘A’ grade from last year and moving up to #6 in the rankings for overall business friendliness.

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. Accordingly, 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?”

 “For the second year, Virginia set an outstanding example of providing a supportive environment for small business,” said Sander Daniels, co-founder of “Our research with thousands of small businesses points to the importance of clear and consistent regulations and relevant training programs, and these are exactly the areas where Virginia excels.”

Some of the key findings for Virginia include:

  • Small business owners ranked Virginia #6 for its overall business friendliness, up from #7 last year. In comparison to Virginia's 'A' grade, Maryland was middle-tier with a 'C'.
  • The state also received an 'A' grade for its licensing regulations and tax codes, as well as an 'A' for its training and networking programs. Additionally, Virginia was ranked #4 for the quality of its online 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.
  • Among major cities nationwide, the Norfolk-Virginia Beach metro earned an A+ as the #2 city for small business. Richmond also fared well with a B+ overall grade. Washington DC and Baltimore received a 'B' and a 'C' grade, respectively.
  • Virginia's lowest mark was an A- for its zoning regulations.

“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, regional comparisons within states, and Census data comparing Virginia's key demographics against those of other states.




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