Oklahoma fares well in startup activity, entrepreneurial index finds
By Paul Monies
Copyright © 2016, The Oklahoma Publishing Company
An energy slump in Oklahoma hasn’t dented the state’s environment for startup companies, with the Sooner State ranking well for entrepreneurial activity in a new survey of states and metropolitan areas.
Oklahoma came in fourth among smaller states in the ranking by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. That’s up from No. 8 in 2015. In all, 30 states saw higher aggregate levels of new business activity compared to the previous year.
Among the 25 smaller states grouped by the Kauffman Foundation, Oklahoma was third for the rate of new entrepreneurs, behind Montana and Alaska. Oklahoma ranked No. 10 for the opportunity rate of new entrepreneurs, which measures how many owners of new businesses were unemployed before starting their business.
State 6th in density
As far as startup density, Oklahoma ranked sixth among the smaller states. That index measures startups per 1,000 firms.
“These reports are critical to solving the puzzle of why entrepreneurship thrives in some places and not in others,” said Victor Hwang, vice president of entrepreneurship at the Kauffman Foundation. “Policymakers, practitioners and entrepreneurial support organizations can use the findings as tools to take the pulse of their local ecosystems to strengthen startup activity.”
The foundation said national startup activity rose for the second straight year, following several years of declines in the wake of the 2007-08 recession.
“While there is considerable variation from one locale to the next, the aggregate data bodes well for business startup activity around the country,” said Arnobio Morelix, a senior research analyst at the foundation.
For smaller states, Montana led the way in this year’s index. It was followed by Nevada, Wyoming, Oklahoma and Alaska, the foundation said. Eleven smaller states had higher startup activity this year than 2015.
Among large states, Texas, Florida, California, New York and Colorado took the top five spots in this year’s index. Nineteen out of the 25 largest states had higher levels of startup activity compared to 2015.