Which States Are the Most Small-Business Friendly?

Rhode Island and Illinois are among the worst states for small business owners, says a new survey, while Texas and New Hampshire are at the top.

A new survey of nearly 18,000 small business owners nationwide finds that entrepreneurs really want just one thing from government – simplicity.

Thumbtack.com’s 2015 small business friendliness survey finds that the states ranked highest by small businesses are the ones that offer the easiest-to-navigate licensing and tax regimes, along with proactive help for entrepreneurs. What matters much less: the actual burden of taxes or regulation.

“The tax rate is often talked about, but it’s not a particularly meaningful measure,” says Thumbtack’s chief economist, Jon Lieber. “The amount paid in taxes matters significantly less than the complexity of the tax system and the difficulty people have complying.”

By these standards, the states ranked best in Thumbtack’s survey are Texas, New Hampshire and Utah, while the states ranked worst are Rhode Island, Illinois and Connecticut, along with New York and California.

Continued at the Washington Monthly…

Growing numbers of benefit companies pursue both purpose and profit

30 states and the District of Columbia have passed legislation legally recognizing “triple bottom line” businesses.

Among the many dozens of delivery vehicles that hit the streets of Portland, Oregon, every morning, B-Line’s colorful “cargo trikes” stand out.

Looking something like pedicabs on steroids, the company’s electrically boosted but human-powered vehicles can haul up to 600 pounds of goods. Every morning, B-Line’s fleet of eight trikes deploys itself across Portland, delivering organic produce, coffee and artisanal bread before switching to parcel deliveries for the remainder of the day.

The company calculates that since its founding in 2009, when it began with just two trikes, it’s made more than 10,000 deliveries and – more importantly – reduced carbon emissions by an estimated 350,000 pounds.

“We aim to be a more environmentally and social friendly delivery service for inner cities,” says company founder and CEO Franklin Jones.

More than that, B-Line is legally obligated to pursue its social mission. Along with a growing number of socially-conscious businesses across the country, B-Line is a “benefit company” with special legal status under state law.

Under this legislation – variations of which have also been adopted in 29 other states and the District of Columbia – businesses choosing to be “benefit companies” must include a social purpose in its charter, adopt a third-party standard and prepare an annual report for shareholders assessing how well it met its social goals.

Continued at the Washington Monthly...

In Kentucky, Angel Investor Tax Credits Woo Small Business Investors

The state’s expanded credit is now among the more generous incentives nationwide.

Eric Ostertag is the kind of entrepreneur states love.

A physician with a doctorate in molecular biology, Ostertag has launched three ventures: Transposagen, a genetic engineering company; Vindico Pharmaceuticals, which specializes in nanotechnology; and Hera Testing Laboratories, Inc., another biotechnology firm.

The companies began in Philadelphia, but all three are now based in Lexington, Kentucky. The state offered Ostertag a matching grant for high-tech companies that win federal Small Business Innovation Research awards. “I moved my companies because of the incentives,” Ostertag said.

Now the state is offering Ostertag’s investors an incentive too: a generous new tax credit for “angel” investors who invest in Kentucky-based small businesses.

Continued at Republic 3.0…

Can Boomers and Millennials Save America’s Start-Up Engine?

The Kauffman Foundation’s Jason Wiens talks about how these two demographic groups will chart the future course of entrepreneurship.

Unemployment rates are dropping, consumer confidence is growing, and the economy is finally picking up steam.

Yet there’s a soft spot in the nascent recovery: the rate of new business creation.

Even before the onset of the Great Recession, reports the Kauffman Foundation, American entrepreneurship has been declining.

But the Kauffman Foundation also argues that two groups of Americans – the Baby Boomers and the Millennials – could potentially reverse this trend. Together, the Boomers and the Millennials include nearly 140 million Americans.

Continued at GE Ideas Reports and Republic 3.0

Maryland’s International Incubator Woos Foreign Startups

Maryland’s state-sponsored “International Incubator” woos foreign investment by helping entrepreneurs get their start.

If you’re a foreign entrepreneur looking to break into the U.S. market, the State of Maryland wants to help.

On the third floor of a nondescript office building perched on a busy commercial strip in College Park, Maryland, foreign-owned start-ups can get a boost at the Maryland International Incubator, a first-of-its-kind incubator focused exclusively on foreign companies settling in the United States.

Since its start in 2009, the incubator – a partnership between the University of Maryland and Maryland state officials – has helped launch more than 30 foreign-owned ventures in the state.

Continued at Republic 3.0…