New Survey Says CA Unfriendly for Small Business

Sander Daniels
Co-Founder,, in partnership with the Kauffman Foundation, has released new data showing that small businesses rank California among the least friendly states for small business.  California earned Fs in 6 of the 12 categories ranked, and the three worst cities nationwide for small businesses are all in California.  The one bright spot is San Jose, which ranked in the top half of cities nationwide.

There are a lot of “business climate rankings”, but there aren’t any that draw upon considerable data from small business owners themselves. The Small Business Survey is the only survey to draw data from an extensive, nationwide universe of job creators and entrepreneurs themselves in order to investigate the best places in the country to do business.

After a two-month survey of over 6,000 small business owners nationwide, it’s clear that California is failing in the eyes of its small businesses. For policymakers at every level looking for ways to jumpstart economic growth and job creation, California can serve as a case study of what not to do.

Some of the key findings for California include:

  • Small businesses rated California as having the second-least friendly tax code of all states nationwide.
  • Surprisingly, women-owned small businesses in California felt significantly more supported by the state than their male counterparts. Female entrepreneurs were 37% more likely than male entrepreneurs to rate California as supportive or very supportive of small business.
  • Although California struggled overall, it ranked well for one important category. When compared against its neighbors in the West, California is the region’s #4 least-costly state for hiring a new employee.
  • California’s stand-out regions were the Bay Area and the Central Coast. Small businesses ranked the Bay Area as the most supportive region in the state of small business, and the Central Coast ranked as the least costly for hiring a new employee.
  • The state’s worst regions for doing business were San Diego and the Central Valley. Of all of California’s regions, San Diego businesses were the least optimistic about their economic future – and the Central Valley ranked worst for both support of small business and cost of hiring a new employee.

The full survey results can be seen here and include full sets of rankings, dozens of easily searchable quotes from California small businesses, regional comparisons within states, and Census data comparing California’s key demographics against those of other states.

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