Columbus Moves Up the Ranks in the Startup World

It’s generally good news for startups in Columbus. While that may be the sentiment of the boots on the ground, two recent survey rankings highlight the positive climate.

Last year, gave Columbus an impressive ‘A+’ in training & networking programs and ‘As’ and ‘Bs’ across the rest of the ranking board, earning the city a solid ‘B’ overall for the year. State data gave Ohio a ‘C’ overall when it came to small business friendliness, making Columbus one of the bright spots in the state.

The site has introduced a new ranking system that will measure state-wide monthly sentiment.

“We are excited to be able to reveal this new survey, which will capture the sentiment of over ten thousand small service providers nationwide on a monthly basis,” says Chief Economist of Thumbtack Jon Lieber. “Many of these businesses have few or no employees, and are often overlooked in other widely tracked business surveys. We hope by drawing attention to them we can offer new insights into what’s happening in a part of the American economy that is difficult to study.”

May 2015 data revealed Ohio small businesses felt somewhat positive about the state of things. Highlights included:

  • – A 25 percent reduction in businesses citing “uncertain economic conditions” as their number one concern for the future. Only 13.7 percent cited this as their top problem in May.
  • – A vast majority, close to 75 percent, had a positive outlook of their financial situation for the next three months, coupled with 80 percent saying they expected revenue to increase over the same period and nearly 96 percent estimating profitability would stay the same or increase.
  • – Overall, most business owners, 95 percent, predicted general business conditions would stay the same or greatly improve over the next three months.

A tight labor market and issues finding the right hire do remain a top concern for business owners. Forty-two percent found hiring to be somewhat to very difficult. However, Ohio small businesses do report more hiring that other states (31 percent made a hire over the last three months), ranking the state at 13th nationally.

The Kauffman Foundation found more good news, and perhaps one of the most impressive recent stats for startups in Columbus. The city jumped 10 spots, from 22nd to 12th, in the annual index of startup activity.

The rate of new entrepreneurs, meaning the percent of the adult population of an area that became entrepreneurs in a given month, rose from 0.33 percent in 2014 to 0.35 percent in 2015. Since 2011, the rate has hovered between 0.37 and 0.33 percent, a significant increase from the previous three years.

However, the largest increase was in opportunity share of new entrepreneurs, which measures the percent of new entrepreneurs who were not unemployed before starting their business. The rate rose from 71.2 percent to 80 percent.

As a state, Ohio somewhat struggled, slipping one spot from 36 to 37 in the startup activity index. Opportunity share did see another generous increase, from 83.4 to 89.2 percent, and the startup density (number of startups per 100,000 residents) rose from 87.25 to 89.82.

Columbus was also a standout regionally. In a sea of red and orange dots (see feature image) Columbus was a positive blue.

Click here for more information on’s findings. For more information on the Kauffman Index, click here.