National Survey of Small Business Owners Gives Winston-Salem Top Scores For Regulatory Friendliness  

“I have found that my state offers a very detailed website to assist small business owners with navigating the system. In addition, there are several small business centers throughout the city and state to lend assistance to business owners. The Chamber of Commerce strongly supports small business in my particular city.”
– Therapist, Winston-Salem

San Francisco, CA, 7/15/2014:, in partnership with the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, today released new data showing that small business owners give Winston-Salem some of the highest grades in the country for its regulatory friendliness.

More than 12,000 entrepreneurs nationwide participated in this year’s survey. The Small Business Friendliness Survey is the largest survey of its kind and is the only survey to obtain data from an extensive, nationwide sample of small business owners themselves to determine the most business-friendly locations.

While there are various “business climate rankings” that rate locations as good or bad for business, there are no others that draw upon considerable data from small business owners themselves. This year our team was able to rate 82 cities and most states across multiple metrics that business owners say are critical to a friendly business environment.

“After a two-month survey of thousands of small business owners nationwide, Winston-Salem has been recognized by its small business community for the friendliness of its regulations,” said Jon Lieber, Chief Economist of “Creating a business climate that is welcoming to small, dynamic businesses is more important than ever, and Winston-Salem has figured out many elements of this formula.”

Some of the key findings for Winston-Salem – and North Carolina generally – include:

  • Winston-Salem was rated first in the country for health and safety regulations and second in the country for its labor laws.
  • The city earned four A+ grades out of the 11 categories we rated, in health and safety and labor regulations, the friendliness of the tax code, and the availability of training and networking programs.
  • Winston-Salem was one of the worst in the nation for hiring new workers, earning a grade of D+ on that metric.
  • Small businesses in Winston-Salem reported some of the lowest scores in the nation for expansion expectations in the next twelve months, rating 77th out of 82 cities.
  • North Carolina earned a grade of C+ for its friendliness to small business.
  • The top rated cities overall were Colorado Springs, Boise, Houston, Austin, and Louisville. The lowest rated were Sacramento, Providence, Buffalo, Bridgeport, and San Diego.

“It is critical to the economic health of every city and state to create an entrepreneur-friendly environment,” said Dane Stangler, vice president of Research and Policy at the Kauffman Foundation. “Policymakers put themselves in the best position to encourage sustainable growth and long-term prosperity by listening to the voices of small business owners themselves.”

The full survey results can be seen here and include full sets of rankings for cities and states going back three years, along with dozens of easily searchable quotes from Winston-Salem small businesses.

“Setting up a business in North Carolina could be an easier task. The taxes here are too high to make business ownership an easy task in the first few years of business.”
– Business coach, Winston-Salem

Survey Methodology surveyed 12,632 small businesses across the United States. The survey asked questions about the friendliness of states towards small business and about small business finances, such as:

  • “In general, how would you rate your state’s support of small business owners?”
  • “Would you discourage or encourage someone from starting a new business in your state?” and
  • “Do you think you pay your fair share of taxes?” and the Kauffman Foundation evaluated states and cities against one another along multiple metrics.  The full methodology paper can be found here.

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