Yet another study puts Vermont as next-to-worst state in the nation to start a business

Vermont may be a nice place to take summer vacations and ski trips, but it’s not a great place to start a business according to yet another economic study.

Weeks after gave a big thumbs down to launching a startup in the Green Mountain State, has ranked Vermont 49th in the nation for best states in which to start a business.

“Small businesses are on the rise in the US, and according to MIT, they thrive or die based on location,” the publication states about its study. “Where you choose to start a business can be one of the most important decisions you make as an entrepreneur; location determines the quality of life, cost/tax burdens, and the size of the consumer market.”

Wikimedia Commons/Aaron Pruzaniec

VERMONT BAD FOR STARTUPS?: According to two recent studies, Vermont ranks near last on best states in which to launch a business.

The Green Mountain State was highlighted right away in the report.

“Vermont was among the five worst in this study, while Texas was rated best,” the authors wrote.

Generally, highest-ranked states offer entrepreneurs good access to loans and grants, an educated labor pool, and low taxes.

The lower-ranked states have less disposable income, poor quality of life, and limited resources available to get businesses going.

The authors emphasize that there was “no solid geographic pattern” observed, meaning that state policies, not the location of the country, have the most impact on business success.

RELATED: Wallethub also put Vermont at 49 on its list

“States in both our best and worst lists stretched from north to south and coast to coast,” FitSmallBusiness states. “So while location itself is a key consideration for new businesses, it’s clear that key factors are less tied to any geographical pattern and more to the nuanced business, financial, and social makeup of each state.”

The authors broke down the components of the study — 30 percent of the score was accounted for by “general business environment.” This category covers economic growth, the percentage of new businesses, and the rate that they survive.

Other categories include 20 percent of score given to tax climate, while another 20 percent related to “startup costs and availability of funding.”

Some smaller categories include labor market, quality of life, and cost of living, each counting for 10 percent.

The authors offered bleak comments about Vermont:

Vermont is a great destination to watch the leaves turn colors, but it’s not a great place to start a business and turn a profit. It’s the country’s second-worst state to start a business, largely due to its expensive environment. It has both high tax rates, high business startup costs, and a high cost of living. Where it isn’t lacking, it’s simply average; the state’s business survivability rate and economic growth rate are middle of the road.

Vermont has a tradition for keeping it local — especially when it comes to food. While there are a few examples, such as Ben & Jerry’s, that prove nationwide brands can be born in Vermont, it’s rare. Short of looking to build a local food business, entrepreneurs looking to put down roots in New England should opt for its neighboring state, New Hampshire, which clocks in at No. 8 on our list of the best and worst states to start a business.

But some Vermonters think the Green Mountain State is getting an unfair rap in recent economic ranking studies.

Rep. Charles Kimbell, D-Woodstock, is the ranking member of the House Committee on Commerce and Economic Development. He says business support networks within the state are strong.

“They don’t look at all the other support networks that are actually in place for all the entrepreneurs who start a business,” he said. “There are other reports that say Vermont is a great place to start a business. There is a lot of support from both state and regional and federal partners for companies that actually locate here.”

Kimbell mentioned the Working Lands Enterprise Fund as an example of a support service which got injected with $1.5 million this year.

He added that Vermont has a high number of start-ups currently operating, especially in the craft beer industry, and many remote workers have chosen Vermont.

“If you only focus on the tax rate itself or the cost of some of the other aspects, then yes, Vermont will not fair well,” he said. “If you look at it holistically, the entire picture of Vermont, it fairs pretty well.”

Michael Bielawski is a reporter for True North Reports. Send him news tips at and follow him on Twitter @TrueNorthMikeB.

Images courtesy of Public domain and Wikimedia Commons/Aaron Pruzaniec

10 thoughts on “Yet another study puts Vermont as next-to-worst state in the nation to start a business

  1. Therein Rep. Kimball is the answer in your statement. The people at the helm of business development in Vermont couldn’t run a brothel and make a profit. The land fund you refer to is all about tree huggers and wana be farmers. It’s not about the grants for new businesses its about the process, the willingness of government to accommodate and the interference of government that needs to change along with high taxes and your select corporate welfare initiatives you hand out to profitable companies for foolish programs. You too need to go. Lets get some real business people in the statehouse that know business.

    • Unfortunately, putting ‘real business people in the statehouse’ is akin to jumping from the pan to the fire. I wouldn’t do it. Somehow we have to figure out a way to get government (whoever they are) out of its psuedo business adminstration charade…i.e. picking winners and losers. I suspect the only way to let the market work is to let government fail. And its well on the way to doing just that.

      • Jay,
        The object of Socialism is to force “terrible business” to fail through taxes, fees, surcharges, and rules and regulations, and have the government come up with programs to take care of the real needs of the people, as defined by Socialists.
        “I FEEL YOUR PAIN”
        “I BRING YOU HOPE”
        WE WILL DO SOCIALISM BETTER THAN THE USSR” (which is not saying much)

        Here are two Socialist who promise anything to get votes, but do not tell you how it will be paid for.

        SOCIALIST, former bartender, Ocasio-Cortez, author of a now defunct ENERGY PLAN, who said:

        “We can use the transition to 100 percent renewable energy as the vehicle to truly deliver and establish economic, social, and racial justice in the United States of America,” she said during a Dec. 5 panel discussion alongside Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt, another neo-Socialist who was honeymooned in the USSR.

        SOCIALIST Bernie Sanders, former hippie from Brooklyn.


        Bernie Sanders is a loud-shouting, arm-waving, multi-millionaire, SOCIALIST, getting close to 80 years old, with three houses, and a $70,000 Audie (supporting the GERMAN worker), and

        – Flying FOR FREE on private planes spewing CO2, for spouting his SOCIALIST and GLOBAL WARMING rhetoric nationwide on some else’s dime (his foundation is buying carbon offsets, a cost of “doing business”; a PR gesture!), and

        – Not liking a proper barrier to protect the US southern border (purposely enticing unskilled illiterates, not successful in their own country, to easily enter the US, because they will ultimately become Democrat voters!), and

        – Having his own tax-exempt foundation (don’t pay me, as I would have to pay federal and state income taxes, pay my tax-exempt foundation!), and

        – Promising more and more goodies to his favored supporters, including free health care for everyone, including 11 to 15 million illegals, and forgiveness of student debt (setting a poor example for their future behavior) to raise his fading poll numbers, and

        – Campaigning for even more US-style Socialism to benefit his foundation, a la Clinton and a la Gore, all smooth-operating, self-serving hucksters!! They know how to play the game to their advantage.

        • Willem – while the ‘Bernie Bluster’ and the AOC ‘Sunrise Surealists’ negotiate by tantrum for their outrageous positions, the real problem is the uneducated (or should I say the ‘brainwashed-by-our-public-schools’) voters who don’t know their keisters from a keyhole. Bernie, AOC, Clinton, Gore and the rest are laughing all the way to the bank. And because they ply their trade in the darkness of government, they’ll not be held accountable for the pain and suffering they ultimately cause. In the end, who knows? Maybe we’re the idealistic fools.

  2. ““They don’t look at all the other support networks that are actually in place for all the entrepreneurs who start a business,” he said. “There are other reports that say Vermont is a great place to start a business. There is a lot of support from both state and regional and federal partners for companies that actually locate here.”

    What reports or is that other “report” ? Please list 10 companies that have located to VT or are currently located and started in VT with excess of 500 employees in the last 10 years? The crickets want to know? As far as most can tell they will be chirping for the some time.

  3. Smaller towns throughout Vermont should take note of how Montpelier supports its town. I live in downtown Montpelier and my husband recently started a very profitable business. Montpelierites seem to know how to make money in town and spend money in town to support everyone like a community. Don’t support the big chains, i.e Walmart, Amazon. Support local and local will be supported.

  4. Kimbell can say anything he cares to, but the facts are the facts. Further, if the second home owners were to leave the state, there would be literally hundreds of empty homes in all the ski areas and the major second home markets such as Woodstock, Kimbell’s home district. As for the pool of willing and able workers, if the proliferation of “help wanted” signs is any indication, it would suggest that the small business that do exist can’t get help. And heaven forbid retirees should leave.

  5. You can have all the reports you want even if they ” all ” claim the same, that Vermont
    is bad for business Large or Small.

    It doesn’t matter as the ” Inept Fools ” we have in Montpelier, just don’t hear it or see it,
    all they know is what’s on their agenda.

    But wait, there is a thriving enterprise in the State, just take a drive and look for any open
    pastures …….HEMP is growing everywhere !!!

  6. Thanks for the laugh Charles Kimbell!!!! I haven’t heard anything that funny in a long time. Vermont has a great support structure for small business……Bhwaaaa…hhhaaaaa…..hhhhaaaaa!!! That isn’t an intravenous feed needle in my arm Mr. Kimbell, that is a vacuum hose and Montpelier is on the other end sucking out my life blood. Does being delusional help you sleep better at night?

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