When it comes to getting a small business off the ground, South Dakota is either the best place or the worst place in the country to launch depending on which set of numbers you look at.

Expertise.com has compiled a list of the top and bottom states in America to start a small business.

To come up with their rankings, the professional search website looked at two dozen business-focused metrics related to the business environment in a state, as well as the available resources and costs associated with launching a new venture.

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South Dakota's number-31 overall ranking doesn't tell the full story.

The Mount Rushmore State actually led all 50 states in the lowest cost category, thanks to lower wages, cheap rental rates, and the second-best state business tax climate in the country.

So why didn't South Dakota rank higher than 31st overall on the list?

It turns out the state's showing in one other metric wasn't so good.

South Dakota was dead last in the available resources category, with poor showings in areas like loan availability, the number of higher education institutions, and a smaller number of working-age adults.


  1. Texas
  2. Florida
  3. Colorado
  4. Arizona
  5. Georgia
  6. California
  7. North Carolina
  8. Utah
  9. Washington
  10. Tennessee


  1. Vermont
  2. West Virginia
  3. Alaska
  4. Rhode Island
  5. Hawaii
  6. Delaware
  7. Maine
  8. Iowa
  9. Wyoming
  10. Connecticut

The COVID-19 pandemic made 2020 one of the worst ever for American small businesses. Yelp estimates that nearly 100,000 small businesses with accounts on their website permanently closed during the past year.


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