A study by a marketing center at Southwest Minnesota State University ranked Minnesota the toughest place to start a new business in the five-state region.
Wisconsin also fared poorly on the comparison study of the relative difficulty in setting up a business in Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin.
Research for the study was conducted from March to December 2011 by Mike Rich, professor of marketing at SMSU and a team of students, said a story in the Marshall Independent.
The study showed all the states required new owners to deal with the same number of agencies, get the same number of permits and were subject to the same number of inspections. And the study indicated tax breaks didn’t appear to make it easier to start a business.
What did matter? In the less business-friendly states, there were more people to contact within an agency and more sub-departments to navigate. And the people within the agencies tended to be less knowledgeable.
They also found the websites intended to help new business owners in Minnesota weren’t user-friendly and often hard to read.
The story said the main recommendation from the study was:
Make it easier for potential business start-ups to find out exactly what they need to do to stay within the law.
Charles Schaffer, director of small business assistance at DEED, told MPR that the situation isn’t as bad as the study indicated but that the results were useful as the state works to improve its presentation of information for business owners.