National Survey of Small Businesses Gives Columbus A+ in Training & Networking Programs

A survey of over 12,000 small businesses across the country revealed that Columbus earns an “A+” when it comes to training and networking programs.

“Creating a business climate that is welcoming to small, dynamic businesses is more important than ever, and Columbus is making big strides towards that goal,” says Jon Lieber, Chief Economist of “What we found was that most of the businesses in our survey were first-time business owners so they are people that don’t really know how to get started. The training and networking programs are super helpful to them because they are just figuring things out for the first time. It’s really helpful in navigating the waters of being a first-time business owner.”

More and better training means more stability when a business gets started, often setting them up for long-term success.

Reflecting this finding, Columbus also ranked as the easiest city in Ohio for starting a small business.

The annual survey asks small business owner-operators what it’s like to do business where they live, giving a city grades in a number of other categories as well.

Columbus earned a “B” overall, down from an “A” last year, but the grade still puts the city towards to top of the rankings nationally.

In the other categories, Columbus earned:

  • • Ease of starting a business – “B”
  • • Ease of hiring – “B-“
  • • Regulations – “A-“
  • • Health & Safety – “B”
  • • Employment, labor & hiring – “B”
  • • Tax code – “A-“
  • • Licensing – “A-“
  • • Environmental – “B”
  • • Zoning – “B+”

Lieber sees a likely reason for Columbus’s lower grades in ease of hiring and employment. A low unemployment rate means a tight labor market. Business might have difficulty finding the right people to fill positions, or have difficulty luring already employed persons away from their current jobs.

Columbus’s higher grades in regulations, licensing and tax code are a good sign for small business according to Lieber.

“It’s important for municipalities to keep things simple,” he says. Cities should make the licensing process as easy as possible while focusing on user experience.

“People don’t want to be dealing with red tape, they want to be serving their customers,” Lieber says.

To see the full survey results for Columbus, click here