New economic numbers put Missouri on top in small business growth


JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – For the past few years, many inside and outside the state have decried that the sky was falling on Missouri’s economy.

However, new census figures analyzed by the Kauffman Foundation in Kansas City found that Missouri leads the nation by far in business creation.

In 2012, Missouri added 7,759 new businesses, and just a year later, the state added 9,052 new businesses, which means Missouri experienced a 16.66 percent increase between those two years. Kentucky, the next highest ranking state, only saw a 6.08 percent increase.

“Small businesses are the engines of our economy, and that’s why we’ve worked hard to help entrepreneurs turn cutting-edge ideas into high-paying jobs for Missourians,” Nixon said in a statement. “This report — showing that Missouri is not only bucking the national trend, but leading the country in new business creation — is proof positive that our efforts are paying off in a big way.”

Part of the reason for the increase could come from the Missouri Technology Corporation, a public-private partnership designed to help entrepreneurs start new businesses while promoting tech companies. The report was supplemented by a Forbes article that found Missouri was a top ten state in startup funding.

A good climate for business may also have contributed to those businesses coming to Missouri. Last year, CNBC created a metric which found Missouri in the middle of the pack of all states as places to do business. While Missouri ranked low on workforce and quality of life metrics, low cost of living and doing business rates and a fairly strong economy made up for those and could explain what attracted more businesses to the state.

State Sen. Jason Holsman, D-Kansas City, said these numbers showed Missouri was still a competitive state when it came to attracting employers.

“These numbers show that Missouri is still a place where people want to live and work,” Holsman said. “Even though we are sometimes perceived as flyover country, site selectors for new business and expansive growth find Missouri to be an attractive place to invest. However, in order to maintain this advantage, we must continue to invest in the two most important factors, which is educating our citizens to provide a world class workforce and continued investment in infrastructure to ensure goods and services can make it to market.”