Utah named Best State for Entrepreneurs

Tuesday, August 27th, 2013

Ask anyone in Utah and they will tell you that the entrepreneurial spirit here runs strong. Now there’s even more validation to that fact.

A new survey by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and Thumbtack reveals that Utah is the best state for entrepreneurs (as reported by Entrepreneur). Let’s add this to Utah’s growing list of accolades, the most recent of which includes Forbes’ Best State for Business three years in a row and Pollina’s top Pro Business state for the second year.

Thumbtack calls Utah the “friendliest state for small business.” This is largely thanks to Utah’s stable and low regulatory climate. With straightforward business laws, entrepreneurs are able to better focus on their business rather than have to constantly jump through legal hoops. Utah is an easy state to start a business and to make it grow.

Though Utah’s population is largely concentrated along the Wasatch Front corridor, there are a few online resources that help those from more remote parts of the state start up a business and stay connected. For example, we have Business Resource Centers, OneStop Business Registration, services available from entrepreneurial associations like Grow Utah Ventures.

The Salt Lake Chamber’s Women’s Business Center is a great resource for entrepreneurs as well, providing free training and counseling.

The Ewing Marion Akuffman Foundation and Thumbtack surveyed 7,766 small businesses on 16 different categories. Other states who made the best states for entrepreneurs list include Alabama, New Hampshire, Idaho and Kansas.

Pollina ranks Utah as top Pro-Business State again

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013

Utah just keeps raking in top rankings when it comes to our business environment.

Pollina Corporate Real Estate recently released its Ten Pro Business States for 2013 list, which is based on independent research by the firm. For the second year in a row, Utah earned the top spot. Forbes also ranked Utah as the Best State for Business for three years a row in January.

Brent Pollina, vice president of Park Ridge, Ill.-based Pollina Corporate Real Estate and co-author of the tenth annual study, said, “America’s most pro-business state for the second consecutive year and again making it the brightest star on the American Flag.  Utah is a symbol of economic growth and prosperity that other states should emulate.”

Thanks to investments in transportation and infrastructure, Utah is attractive to companies wanting to expand their operations or for entrepreneurs looking to start a business.

The Pollina Top Ten study is considered a “Gold Standard” for evaluating states. The research identifies states with exemplary pro-business policies that counteract the effects of economic instability. The authors of the study point to Utah as a guidepost, not only for other state governments, but also for the federal government. The study also indicates how well each state has or has not positioned itself to retain and create jobs as well as sustain America’s middle class.

You can read the full report by CLICKING HERE.


Education impacts Utah’s business rankings

Wednesday, July 10th, 2013

A top five ranking among America’s best states for business is generally something to celebrate. Unless you’ve dropped from second place a year ago.

CNBC released its rankings today and Utah finds itself tied for fifth with Virginia; the commonwealth had claimed the top spot in the ranking three times since 2006. South Dakota claimed the top spot for 2013.

Business is tied to education
The Beehive State’s overall ranking was hurt by its 39th overall ranking in education. This is not a new issue to the business community; the warning signs are clear:

- We have a rapidly diversifying population that requires a new approach to education.
- We have lower test scores than states with similar ethnic/minority diversity, education levels of parents and student poverty levels.
- One out of every four high school freshman will not graduate.

All that comes as we rank 32nd  among states in public education spending per $1,000 of personal income.

We used to do more with less. Now we just do less.

On the same page
Utah’s secret sauce is our ability to work together to solve problems. Through the Prosperity 2020 movement, the business community, has called for greater innovation, investment, accountability and collaboration in education. Gov. Gary Herbert and the Utah Legislature have made education a priority by setting goals to have 66 percent of all Utah adults hold a college degree or skilled trade certificate, and for 90 percent of all elementary school students to be proficient in reading and mathematics by the end of the decade.

With the governor, the Legislature, educators and the business community driving toward the same, well-defined, challenging goals, we can make a significant improvement.

Silver lining
The good news is Utah still scored very high in business friendliness thanks to our regulatory environment and five percent corporate and individual tax rates.

We have rightfully touted ourselves as a great place to do business. We rank very high in many rankings like this. We’re still Forbes Magazine’s Best State for Business and Careers– a title we’ve held for three years in a row.

But just like the road to enduring prosperity, if we want to claim the title as the Top State for Business, it starts with education.

You can read the CNBC article here and find complete rankings here.


Some of the happiest workers are in SLC

Thursday, June 27th, 2013

Eight hours a day. Five days a week. That’s the typical work week for many Americans in the full-time job world. What these numbers don’t say is how much people enjoy their jobs.

Get this: Salt Lake City has been listed as one of the top five cities with the happiest workers in the country. Employees gave companies in the city top marks for providing opportunities for advancement and help maintaining a good work-life balance, according to a new survey from the U.S. Department of Labor.

The survey indicates that location may play a role in whether workers are happy or not.  The survey factored in how happy workers are with their salary, their bosses and the local job outlook.

And Utah’s outlook just keeps looking better, thanks to the most recent jobs report indicating another decrease in unemployment. Utah is now looking at a 4.6 percent unemployment rate and a 2.6 job growth rate.

Other cities on the list are San Jose, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington, D.C.

Utah ranked top economic outlook & performance in Rich States, Poor States study

Friday, May 24th, 2013

The nation is stuck in a slow recovery but Utah’s economic status is one to envy. According to many reports Utah is one of the top economic performers in the country, and also has the best outlook of the bunch. All of this despite policies from the federal government that actually hinder economic growth.

The sixth edition of the Rich States, Poor States economic competitiveness study, released by the American Legislative Exchange Council, is the most recent to list Utah as having the Best Economic Outlook–for the sixth year in a row, no less.

Among the 15 important state policy variables from which the Economic Outlook rankings were deduced, Utah ranked in the top spot in the Estate/Inheritance Tax Levy, State Minimum Wage, and as a Right-to-Work State. Other variables where Utah ranked in the top ten include Personal Income Tax Progressiveness (2), Top marginal Corporate Income Tax Rate (8), State Liability System Survey (9), and Average Workers’ Compensation Costs (6). The lowest ranking Utah received was 31st in Sales Tax Burden.

Seven out of 15 in the top 10 isn’t bad!

As far as economic performance goes, Utah ranked third on the list behind Texas and Nevada. Economic Performance was ranked on a ten-year timeline in three categories that are highly influenced by state policy: State Gross Domestic Product, Absolute Domestic Migration and Non-Farm Payroll Employment.

The combined economic outlook and performance rankings gives Utah an overall number one score.

Each state wants to be economically competitive and Utah is doing quite well, thanks to a business-minded Legislature and governor, and an increased focus on education to improve economic prosperity.

“I want to thank the authors of Rich States, Poor States and ALEC for providing policymakers and the public with this valuable resource,” said Utah Sen. Pres. Wayne Niederhauser.There is no question that states like Utah are reaping the benefits of sound fiscal policy. It is clear that limited regulation, low taxes, low debt and balanced budgets create the best environment for business, investment and jobs.”

Rich States, Poor States is an annual economic competitiveness study authored by Dr. Arthur Laffer, Stephen Moore of the Wall Street Journal, and Jonathan Williams, Director of the Tax and Fiscal Policy Task Force at the American Legislative Exchange Council. This study “reviews fiscal policies that contribute to economic growth compared to policies that detract from such growth.”

Salt Lake County, a “Best to Invest” Area

Wednesday, May 15th, 2013

Salt Lake County Economic Development is being called one of the nation’s top performers in supporting innovation and entrepreneurship in the community by the May 2013 edition of Site Selection Magazine.

The magazine says Salt Lake County is one of the areas “Best to Invest” in the nation for 2013. They say the “Best to Invest” organizations in the U.S. all demonstrated a resiliency to bounce back from previous economic setbacks.

“In 2012, the top-performing economic development organizations in America all possessed this one chief characteristic: They threw out the mold for what worked yesterday and rewrote the rule book for their own industrial future,” the magazine articles said.

When the recession hit, Utah wasn’t as adversely affected as other states. Since then, Utah has emerged has one of the strongest economies in the nation with one of the lowest unemployment rates.

For 2012, Utah has $994 million in capital investment and 6,993 new jobs, ranking the state as one of the strongest local economies in the country.

“We have created an environment that is friendly to business and conducive for growth,” said Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams in the article. “We have a large multi-lingual and highly educated work force, along with a population that is internationally experienced. We have affordable energy and a great transportation network of air, rail and highways. And our tax structure is stable, predictable and friendly for business.”

The Salt Lake Area is growing and becoming a major tech center with big investments from Adobe, eBay, Goldman Sachs and Boeing.

Salt Lake County Economic Development’s recently retired director Dale Carpenter credits the region’s extraordinarily productive workforce, citizens and elected officials’ support of economic development best practices.

Other economic development organizations recognized in Site Selection Magazine in the “Best to Invest” national group include Austin Chamber of Commerce (Tex.), Baton Rouge Area Chamber (La.), The Upstate Alliance (Greenville-Spartanburg, S.C.), Greater Houston Partnership (Tex.), Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce (Ga.), Mobile Chamber of Commerce (Ala.), Pittsburgh Regional Alliance (Penn.), The Siouxland Initiative (Iowa), Southwest Louisiana Economic Development Alliance, and Wayne County Economic Development Growth Engine (Mich.).

The top performers were evaluated by the amount of jobs, capital investment, jobs per capita, investment per capita, creativity of economic development strategy, depth and breadth of project activity, ability to generate breakthrough deals, and the ability to properly document the contributions of the economic development organization to actual results.

Also in their May edition, Site Selection ranked Utah ninth in the Top Ten Competitive States of 2012 and Best States: Living the Dream of 2012 lists.

Utah: A Premier Global Business Destination

Saturday, May 11th, 2013

Why is Utah such a hot spot for business? How come Forbes keeps has ranked the Beehive State the Best State for Business three years in a row? Look no further–this infographic explains it all.

Infographic source: http://business.utah.gov/whyutah/business-in-utah/

SLC International ranked 9th best regional airport in North America

Wednesday, May 8th, 2013

Salt Lake City International Airport is in rare air, both on a regional and international scale, according to the World Airport Awards.

Jumping up five spots from last year, Salt Lake City International Airport ranks as the 94th best airport in the world. The airport in the top spot for 2013 is Singapore Changi Airport.

In North America, however, SLC International ranks as the ninth best regional airport, securing its spot among the region’s most active and popular airports, such as Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport, Denver International Airport, Halifax Stanfield International Airport, Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport and Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport among others.

Maureen Riley, executive director of the Salt Lake City Department of Airports, suggested in a Salt Lake Tribune article that recent renovations in the restaurant and concession venues could have triggered the upswing of positive remarks about SLC International.

And now your help is needed to continue to improve our state’s international airport. Over the next several years, a new terminal will be built at Salt Lake City International Airport, and the Terminal Redevelopment Project wants your input to create the most efficient and functional terminal possible. Visit MyAirportSLC.com to share your thoughts about how to make our airport better.

The World Airport Awards are based on more than 12.1 million survey questionnaires completed by airline customers in 395 airports worldwide. The survey evaluates traveler experiences across 39 different airport service and key performance indicators – from check-in, arrivals, transfers, shopping, security and immigration through to departure at the gate.

The Airport of the Year survey is an independent Passenger study managed by Skytrax, and only airport survey that achieves a true worldwide participant base – known as the “Passenger’s Choice” awards.

Utah named “boom state” by U.S. Chamber

Tuesday, May 7th, 2013

Not only has Utah been ranked the Best State for Business three years running by Forbes, but now Utah is the best state to start a business, according to the Enterprising States report released by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

The fourth annual Enterprising States report measures state performance across five policy areas important for job growth and economic prosperity:

-  Exports and international trade
-  Entrepreneurship and innovation
-  Business climate
-  Talent pipeline
-  Infrastructure

In this year’s report, Utah is called “perhaps the best-performing state overall,” as it fosters business growth and job creation. The Beehive State ranked in the top 10 in each of the five policy area rankings, as well as third in overall economic performance, making Utah the only state to rank in the top 10 on all six lists.

“The state is booming, ranking second in both short- and long-term job growth,” the report said.

The manufacturing and technology industries give Utah an edge. During the recession, the national manufacturing scene contracted, while Utah saw slight growth. The Beehive State creates STEM-related jobs at the third fastest pace in the nation, and has the seventh highest concentration of high-tech companies. More and more technology companies are moving to Utah because of the state’s business-friendly environment. climate. Tech growth in Utah, particularly in Utah County, has earned the area the nickname “The Silicon Slopes.”

The Utah Science, Technology, and Research initiative (USTAR) also received $6 million in 2012 to support research and innovation at Utah’s universities, creating commercial opportunities leading to private sector business development and attraction.

In the report, Utah also ranked third in exports and “business birthrate.”  In infrastructure, and innovation and entrepreneurs, Utah ranked fourth.

The Governor’s Office of Economic Development said, “The Enterprising States report underscores that, in Utah, whether a business is large or small or if the technology is new or mature a growing business can find a supportive environment in Utah.”

This year, Utah has also been named as the most small business friendly statethe fourth best state when it comes to well-being, and as having the 10th best tax climate. Salt Lake City is considered the third best city for jobs this spring and also the best city for college graduates.

To see the Enterprising States interactive map report, click here.

SLC: This is the place for college grads

Friday, May 3rd, 2013


Image courtesy of the University of Utah

This week, the class of 2013 will be graduating from the University of Utah. I hope my friends about to toss their caps realize how lucky they have it. They are, after all, graduating in the number one city for college grads, according to Kiplinger.

In this slideshow, Kiplinger lists Salt Lake City as the best city for young graduates to live and to work. This didn’t come as a surprise to me. Aside from the fact that founder Brigham Young announced, “This is the place,” when the pioneers arrived, SLC has a lot going for it and many of those things can make for an awesome life as a recent college grad.

For starters, Utah has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country, standing at 5.1 percent, almost a full three points lower than the national average. While not as low as we would like it (two to three percent is ideal), that means that there are jobs available, especially for those with an education since skilled workers are definitely needed to fill jobs in today’s progressive world.

For example, some of the biggest hiring companies in Salt Lake include the University of Utah and Delta Air Lines. And just south of SLC, the new Adobe campus along with other tech companies staking their claim in the “Silicon Slopes” are on the hunt for prospective employees. Which could easily be those students graduating with computer science or technology degrees (if you can’t decide on a major, there’s a hint right there).

Income for new grads in our capital city isn’t too shabby either. The median salary for recent graduates sits around $41,000 per year, and compared to the average cost of living, recent graduates can live pretty comfortably. To quote the Kiplinger article, “Below-average living costs, above-average pay and a population teeming with twenty-somethings (about 16 percent of the city’s population) make Salt Lake an excellent starting-out city.”

Aside from those statistics, Salt Lake City is becoming a thriving Western metropolitan area, complete with a variety of killer restaurants and countless opportunities for art enjoyment (anyone else looking forward to the Utah Symphony performing John Williams’ music this weekend?). It’s also 30 minutes from the picturesque mountains and the exhilarating outdoor activities they hold. It’s hard to pass up on the beauty and recreation that Utah offers.

I consider myself quite lucky. When I graduated from the University of Utah in 2011, I felt like the world was my oyster. Despite being an English major (which, according to statistics, means that I likely will have a hard time hunting down jobs compared to most other majors), I’ve been able to find opportunities that either match my interests or areas that I wanted to gain more experience.

About a year after I graduated (right after six months of working four part-time jobs/internships), one of those jobs offered me a full-time position that I love and actually incorporates skills I learned from my major. Not long after that, I moved into the heart of Salt Lake City. I’m able to walk or take TRAX to most places that I need on a regular basis, and there’s even a bakery around the corner from where I live. Now I can officially and happily call Salt Lake City my home. Recent grad making a life and a living in Salt Lake City — check!

Go Utes! And congratulations to everyone graduating this spring! Now Salt Lake City can be your oyster. Just don’t be afraid to use your education and your connections to your advantage.