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Virginia Ranked 7th Most Small Business-Friendly State

Thumbtack.com evaluated 6,000 small businesses and ranked Virginia the seventh most small-business friendly state, with metropolitan Washington being the most friendly in the region.

Virginia and the metropolitan Washington area have been ranked as very small-business friendly areas, according to a recent survey.

Thumbtack.com partnered with the Kauffman Foundation to conduct the Small Business Survey this spring. A portion of the survey assessed the environment for small businesses based on multiple standards.

Virginia scored ‘A’ ratings in 10 of the 12 categories it was assessed on. These categories included the ease of starting a business, hiring costs, health and safety, employment, tax codes, licensing, environmental, training programs and networking programs. Virginia scored ‘B’ ratings in regard to the difficulty of local business regulations and zoning regulations.

Overall, Virginia received a grade of an ‘A’ and is considered the 7th-friendliest state for doing business. Within Virginia, the D.C. metropolitan area is considered the most business-friendly place and Northern Virginia is the third friendliest place. The survey cites western Virginia as the least small-business friendly region.

Sabrina Campbell, owner of in Alexandria, said she believes the most difficult thing about owning a small business in this area is “all the red tape with the local government.”

Virginia ranked twelfth in optimism about the future. Businesses surveyed were asked what they thought their company’s financial status would be in a year. Campbell said she is optimistic about the future and would encourage others to start a small business in this area.

“You have a high density of people. People are generally interested in things that are unique and different. If you engage your audience you have a high potential to do well here,” Campbell said.

There are a variety of tools small business owners can utilize in the Alexandria area. The U.S. Small Business Administration offers resources such as information on loans and a mentoring program. There is also a Small Business Development Center located at 625 N. Washington St. in Alexandria designed to help entrepreneurs.

Campbell said she believes Northern Virginia is a good place to own a business, and there is a strong sense of community.

“I opened my first business in a community I live in and I strived very hard to do good things for the community,” Campbell said. “When the community knows who you are and you support them, they will come and support you as well.” 

The survey asked 6,000 small business owners listed on Thumbtack.com about their area to determine ‘small business friendliness’.

kathryn morrison July 03, 2012 at 02:55 PM
I couldn't disagree more. My business, SunStar Strategic, has operations in Alexandria Va and New York City and in Chicago. Other than taxes, Virginia is very unfriendly toward small business. The health costs for employees for our small business is more than $1000 per person per month and more than $3000 for families. We anticipate that the new health care law will help because it will allow us to shop out of state and because it will allow us to pool with other small businesses. Of course, our attorney general has been fighting the health care law. Other laws such as the non-compete, non-solicitation are very business unfriendly. Power blows at every storm and the city of Alexandria has been unable or unwilling to make the changes that would give us a stable power source. The police force is also unfriendly to business. We are moving more of our business to New York. The taxes are dreadful but they are more appreciative of companies that create jobs.
Ray N. July 03, 2012 at 05:37 PM
Agree with the article - my experience in construction is that the markets are more healthy here, but the local governments (not the federal government) create a swimming pool of red tape for small businesses. More regulations and restrictions seem only to create more paperwork and jobs for the bureaucracy - not protect the public. Reduce some of the local government regulation, and you can reduce government labor costs and make it easier for businesses to thrive.

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