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The 7 Worst States for Startup Entrepreneurs


If you want to start a new business, you might want to think about relocating. A recent report from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce shows that some states are better than others when it comes to starting up in the tech world. Does your state rank as one of the worst?

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The Chamber’s Enterprising States report examines the “priorities, policies and programs of the 50 states that are vital for job growth and economic prosperity,” which includes entrepreneurship and innovation. While some states offer a great environment for embarking on new, high-tech startup ideas and small business ventures, others have incredibly limited, downright dismal, opportunities. Here are just the top seven of this year’s worst states for startup entrepreneurs.

1.) Iowa – #44

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Why it’s the worst: According to the report, Iowa ranked #49 for “business birthrate.” So, it looks like citizens of Iowa aren’t looking into starting new businesses anytime soon.

The good news: Iowa ranked 14th in STEM job growth, which we now know will offer the next generation of college graduates rewarding, well-paying careers.

2.) Tennessee – #45

Why it’s the worst: In all of the report’s entrepreneurial categories, Tennessee ranked no higher than #30. Unfortunately, STEM jobs just aren’t prevalent in the Volunteer State, which could be the effect of not having a whole lot of tech opportunities in the first place.

The good news:
Tennessee ranks a high #17 in short-term job growth, which means that greater opportunities for job growth may be on the rise. 

3.) Mississippi – #46

Why it’s the worst: High-tech jobs have bypassed the Magnolia State, leaving it at the bottom of the pack when it comes to STEM jobs. And ranking at #49 in “economic performance,” it looks like Mississippi businesses need to head back to school for a refresher course in Econ 101.

The good news:
According to the report, Mississippi is putting their entrepreneurial eggs into the healthcare basket; the state ranks high when it comes to exports.

4.) Kentucky – #47

Why it’s the worst: According to the report, Kentucky isn’t the absolute worst when it comes to innovation, but it doesn’t exactly trump any other states in the entrepreneurial department, either. The Bluegrass State’s best ranking is 23rd for STEM job growth.

The good news:
There are reported signs that economic activity is on the rise — this includes more jobs.

5.) Arkansas – #48

Why it’s the worst: Why isn’t it the worst? Arkansas is reported to have one of the smallest percentages of high-tech firms, just a smidgen of STEM jobs available and barely any self-employed citizens. 

The good news:
Earlier this year, a $1.1 billion steel mill project was brought to light — one of the biggest private investments in the history of the Natural State.

6.) Maine – #49

Why it’s the worst: Are you a sole proprietor living in Maine? Well, you’re one of the very few. The Pine Tree state finishes last when it comes to self-employed citizens. Plus, lack of STEM jobs places this state as one of the top two worst for tech startups.

The good news:
Maine’s Business Friendly Communities program is attempting to attract more businesses to the state.

7.) West Virginia – #50

Why it’s the worst: In the category of “business birthrate,” West Virginia ranks at the very bottom. Due to lack of reliable broadband Internet connectivity, the state is also a measly #33 in innovation and entrepreneurship.

The good news:
If you want a job in the manufacturing industry, a move to West Virginia would be a smart one. Oh, and they have beautiful mountains there.

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Natalie Nichols
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