Colorado is the best for small business: Gov. Hickenlooper

Small businesses make up 97 percent of all business in Colorado.

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper
Source: Office of the Governor
Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper

Years ago I had a crazy idea to start a beer joint in Denver. It certainly seemed like a far-fetched venture. Even my own mother wouldn't invest. But much like Coloradans and the West, tell us we can't do something and we will prove you wrong.

Colorado has an amazing energy and spirit that is ripe for people to think about starting a business or even moving a business here. The local atmosphere is attractive to all age groups, and people want to come to Colorado to live, work and play.

There are many reasons Colorado is the best place to start and grow a business. First, it's low cost to start and register a business, and we make it easy to do so; you won't find much bureaucratic red tape here. We also have dedicated statewide resources to help anyone who has an idea through our nationally accredited Small Business Development Center Network.

"You won't find much bureaucratic red tape here."

Colorado also offers one of the lowest income-tax rates in the nation, at 4.63 percent, and our unemployment rate is always among the lowest in the country. Additionally, we have easier access to capital than most other states, from low amounts of money through our micro loan programs to venture funding to the creative financing of crowdfunding platforms. And our diversified industries help our economy remain one of the top five in the nation, along with our educated and skilled workforce.

Don't just take our word for it. Take a look at some of our recent national rankings:

  • Denver is the best city to do business, according to a Forbes 2015 ranking.
  • Colorado ranked seventh in the Kauffman Foundation Index for Growth Entrepreneurship.
  • Denver is ranked the fourth best city for job growth.
  • Colorado ranks ninth among U.S. states for small-business lending, according to a study from CPA Practice Advisor and Lendio.
  • Denver ranked second in the Kauffman Foundation Index for Start-up Activity.

Colorado is truly a hub for the entrepreneurial spirit. We have the support from our local cities, higher education and the dozens of scientific labs that are located here. Our co-working spaces and incubators create a culture of networking and collaboration that lead to higher levels of success. And opportunities to learn are abundant throughout the state, whether you are in a small rural town, a mountain village or the larger cities of Denver, Boulder or Ft. Collins.

Coloradans are optimistic about the future, and many people move here to bring businesses and ideas to fruition not just because they believe in their ideas but because they can get the networking, partnerships and help they may need to make it a success. Colorado creates. We spur new ideas with an openness to the economy and the ecosystem to protect future generations.

Entrepreneurs are risk-takers. They see the need or gap and they come up with a solution that will solve a problem. Colorado has the infrastructure, the support and the talent to make the dream of owning their own business a reality. We all work together in a unified direction for our small businesses.

Small businesses make up 97 percent of all businesses in Colorado, and they truly are the backbone of our economy. We have the support, the culture, the creativity and collaboration to ensure anyone has a chance to be successful.

— By Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper

Editor's note: This commentary was written before the release of the Top States 2016 data. The governor did not have knowledge of the rankings or the comprehensive data.