Published: September 26, 2023 | Updated: September 25, 2023

Most entrepreneurial states

Idaho is among the most entrepreneurial states in the U.S.

Florida is at the top of the list, while Georgia has the second-most entrepreneurial population, Michigan is third with the largest growth in business applications and Idaho comes in at No. 9.

Research by project management experts at The Digital Project Manager analyzed eight indicators for how entrepreneurial a state is. These included percentage of the population that start new businesses, percentage of start-ups still active after one year, number of small businesses per 100,000 of the population and growth rate of business applications, among others.

1) Florida: Entrepreneurial index score: 65.12

Florida has the highest percentage of the population who have started a business (0.61%), with 86% of those starting one out of choice rather than necessity could mean being unemployed or requiring another stream of income to support oneself. These start-ups have the highest number of jobs created in the first year with 6.53. With 13,238 small businesses per 100,000 of the population, this is the most in any state. Floridians clearly have an entrepreneurial mindset that doesn’t only benefit themselves but their communities with the jobs that they create.

2) Georgia: Entrepreneurial index score: 59.31

Georgia is in second place with 10,871 small businesses per 100,000 of the population, indicating a clear entrepreneurial drive. This is supported by the second-highest percentage of the population that has started a new business (0.47%). Georgians also have a high search interest on Google for "how to start a business."

3) Michigan: Entrepreneurial index score: 58.39

Michigan is the third-most entrepreneurial state. In 2022, there was a 1,772% growth in business applications from 2019. Nearly 80% of start-ups are still active after one year and there are 9,091 small businesses per 100,000 of the population. The national average of businesses failing after five years is 49%. Michigan is slightly below that, with only 47% of businesses failing.

4) Oklahoma: Entrepreneurial index score: 57.58

In Oklahoma, 0.44% of the population has started a new business, with 82% still active after one year. Because of this, the state has 9,075 small businesses per 100,000 of the population — 84% of those in Oklahoma who start businesses do so by choice rather than by necessity.

5) Montana: Entrepreneurial index score: 57.36

Montana boasts 11,336 small businesses per 100,000. Within the first year, start-ups will create 6.14 jobs and 81% of those start-ups will still be active after the year mark. After five years, only 45% of businesses will fail, which is one of the lowest failure rates across the U.S.

6) Wyoming: Entrepreneurial index score: 57.31

Wyoming has 12,357 small businesses per 100,000. From 2019 to 2022, the state experienced a 120% increase in applications for businesses. This is reflected in Wyoming's Google searches, "how to start a business." This is one of the highest levels of search interest in America.

7) Colorado: Entrepreneurial index score: 57.21

In Colorado, 0.42% of the population have started up a new business. Of these start-up businesses, 81% are still active after one year, and within that year create 6.09 jobs.

8) California: Entrepreneurial index score: 57.04

The Golden State is the most populous state, with 10,792 small businesses per 100,000 people. Of its start-ups, 82% will still be active after one year, creating 5.7 jobs; 0.43% of Californians have started businesses and only 44% will fail after five years, one of the lowest failure rates.

9) Idaho: Entrepreneurial index score: 56.63

In Idaho, start-ups will create 6.11 jobs in their first year; 89% of these start-ups are created by choice and not by necessity. Although the Gem State experienced a much lower business application growth rate of only 0.20% from 2019-2022, it retains 9,320 small businesses per 100,000 of the population.

10) Texas: Entrepreneurial index score: 56.38

Texas has the second-highest population; per 100,000 of the population are 10,163 small businesses. The state saw a growth rate of business applications between 2019 and 2022 of 52%. More than 80% of new businesses will still be active after a year and will create 5.18 jobs, opening further opportunities for its residents.