Study: Wisconsin among worst places in U.S. to start a business

State ranks No. 46 according to GOBankingRates

Wisconsin state outline

Wisconsin is one of the worst places in the country to start a business, according to a study completed by GOBankingRates.com.

The state ranked No. 46 in the study, which examined startup activity, business survival rates, productivity, availability of employees, education level of potential employees, business taxes and cost of living to determine the friendliness of each state’s economic climate toward new businesses.

“Opening a small business in Wisconsin comes with some roadblocks,” the study reads. “First off, Wisconsin has the second-lowest rate of new entrepreneurs — the percent of the adult population becoming entrepreneurs, a monthly average — at 0.19 percent. The low rate of new entrepreneurs might be tied to the low opportunity share of new entrepreneurs, with only 74.19 percent — the third lowest in the nation — of new business owners who were not unemployed before starting their businesses. These factors contribute to Wisconsin having the second-worst startup activity score on our list.”

In descending order, the top-performing states according to the metrics examined by GoBankingRates were order Wyoming, Alaska, Nevada, Texas and Delaware. Ranking behind Wisconsin were Arkansas, Vermont, Maine and Hawaii.

The study is the latest in which Wisconsin and Milwaukee have ranked low in terms of startup activity and new business creation.

Milwaukee ranked 39th out of the 40 largest metropolitan areas in the country in terms of startup activity in the latest Kauffman Index of Startup Activity. Similarly, Wisconsin ranked dead last in startup activity among the 25 largest states in the country.

In an effort to make the local regulation and paperwork process friendlier to entrepreneurs, the City of Milwaukee recently unveiled a new web application called “StartSmart” to help potential business founders obtain permits. The application asks users a series of questions about the business they’d like to start and provides a list of all the city and state permits and licenses that are required to make it happen, based on their responses. The list also includes links to related information or applications for each item and resources to guide them through the process.

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Ben Stanley, former BizTimes Milwaukee reporter.

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