South Carolina's regulatory and tax codes are among the nation's most favorable for small businesses, which earned the Palmetto State high marks in a recent study by a Missouri-based entrepreneurship group and an employment website.
More than 6,000 small businesses nationwide were surveyed over two months by The Kauffman Foundation and Thumbtack.com, a company that matches business owners with local workers.
Survey responses were converted to numerical scores and an average for each state was computed.
South Carolina earned an A for its regulations on small-business operations, an issue Thumbtack.com co-founder Sander Daniels said was more important to the respondents than anticipated.
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"Nationally, small-business owners told us that they care almost twice as much about professional licensing regulations as about tax rates," he said. "We weren't expecting that."
Daniels cited cosmetology and pet-sitting as examples of particular licenses that respondents nationwide reported difficulties obtaining.
The study's findings were echoed by Josh Sigler, who opened Palmetto Towing in Bluffton in 2009 after leaving the local charter-fishing industry.
"Since the economy fell through, I needed something recession-proof," he said. "Getting the licensing and zoning applications and other paperwork approved wasn't too difficult; it was really pretty easy."
South Carolina also had the second-best rating in the nation for the cost of hiring additional employees, the study found.
Female small-business owners in South Carolina were 15 percent more likely to believe their companies' financial situations would improve over the coming year than their male counterparts, the study found.
South Carolina earned its lowest mark, a C+, for the availability of networking and training programs.
According to its website, The Kauffman Foundation, based in Kansas City, Mo., is the world's largest foundation devoted to entrepreneurship.
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Keywords: The Kauffman Foundation, Thumbtack.com, Josh Sigler, Palmetto Towing, Sander Daniels