Kauffman/Thumbtack: RI Small Business Friendliness an F

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The Kauffman Foundation, an organization focusing on grants and research supporting entrepreneurship, has released an interactive map with Thumbtack.com that shows the results of a 6,022-business survey on the “small business friendliness” of each state.

In keeping with the broader report card released by the RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity earlier this year, Rhode Island does not fare well, receiving an F, overall, and ranking dead last among states.  RI also received Fs in most of the categories about which the Thumbtack survey asked:

  • Ease of starting a business (50th)
  • Regulations overall (50th)
  • Health & safety regulations (50th)
  • Tax code regulations (48th)
  • Licensing regulations (49th)
  • Environmental regulations (49th)
  • Zoning regulations (48th)

The state did receive A+ scores for “Hiring costs,” “Training programs,” and “Network programs,” however, and a D+ for “Employment, labor & hiring.”  Although respondents said their own businesses are relatively healthy (12th in the country), their stated growth last year was 28th in the nation, and their optimism going forward puts Rhode Island at 42nd.

A photographer in Providence told Thumbtack that “Rhode Island is a very tough state to start in. The economy is poor, and people are very stingy.”

The page for Rhode Island also presents data and rankings based on the U.S. Census.  Notably, the state had the second worst debt per capita in 2011 ($9,113) and the highest Democratic voting percentage (61.1%).