According to the fourth annual "Enterprising States" report (produced by the Washington-based U.S. Chamber of Commerce), Maryland, Colorado and Virginia are the three states most supportive of innovation. The report ranked Massachusetts and Texas in the fifth and sixth positions, while Georgia and Florida were ranked ninth and tenth respectively. The Entrepreneur.com study evaluated the states on five aspects of policy including exports and international trade, entrepreneurship and innovation, business climate, talent pipeline and infrastructure. It also measured and ranked overall economic climate and growth in each state. Here is a snapshot of some states in the top 10, along with their rankings:
1. Maryland: The state was praised for the Maryland Entrepreneurs Resource List, a networking tool for connecting experienced tech executives with young startup entrepreneurs, and the University of Maryland Baltimore County's ACTiVATE initiative, a program for women entrepreneurs supported by the state's Technology Development Corporation.
3. Virginia: "In addition to having the highest concentration of STEM jobs of any state in the U.S., Virginia has been home to the Center for Innovative Technology since 1985," Entrepreneur.com said.
5. Massachusetts: The report hailed the state legislature for passing a bill in 2012 that will allow Massachusetts to "invest in several long-term research and development activities, provide $1 million for paid internships in startups, and another $1 million for a program to mentor entrepreneurs about how and when to access venture capital funding."
6. Texas: "The Lone Star State has more than 2.2 million small-businesses accounting for more than half of its private sector jobs. Also, since 2009, Texas has ramped up its STEM workforce by 34,000, primarily in the computer and IT fields," Entrepreneur.com said.
9. Georgia: The state was praised for the capital city's co-working space, The Atlanta Tech Village, and the Georgia Department of Economic Development's training program called Entrepreneur-Friendly Communities where local communities are taught how to encourage and foster small-business growth.
10. Florida: "The state has a very high growth rate of self-employed individuals, including the addition of 59,000 personal finance advisors since 2002, 39,000 property managers, and 38,000 securities and financial services individuals," the report said.
The report was prepared by the economic research firm Praxis Strategy Group. For a link to the full article and an interactive map showing the best states in which to start a business, click here.