SHERIDAN — While Wyoming may not seem to be the best place for new businesses to get going, a study released this year has the Cowboy State ranked number two for startup activity.
The data was part of the yearly Kauffman Index of Entrepreneurship, a ranked list that the Ewing Marion Kauffmann Foundation puts together; Kauffmann is a $2 billion foundation that focuses on education and entrepreneurship.
Arnobio Morelix, a research analyst at the Kauffman Foundation and one of the studies’ authors, said although the Rocky Mountain region isn’t thought of as a hotbed for entrepreneurial activity it has been doing well.
“Entrepreneurship is closely associated with economic growth,” Morelix said. “So it should not be surprising that some of the states seeing increased levels of startup activity have experienced high rates of real (gross domestic product) expansion in recent years.”
Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead touted the state’s ranking earlier this month at the Wyoming Global Tech Summit in Jackson.
From 2014 to 2015, the study showed Wyoming move up the list from its previously held rank at number six to behind Montana, which is ranked number one for startup activity.
Chamber of Commerce CEO Dixie Johnson said while Wyoming is a good place for businesses to start, Sheridan in particular has a lot to offer new businesses.
“It’s the whole package,” she said. “We’re just a community that cares and is invested in our community, businesses and neighbors.”
From the get-go Sheridan is set up to host new businesses. There are a plethora of organizations that work specifically to promote businesses in Sheridan, from the Downtown Sheridan Association to the Sheridan Business Incubator.
And on a state scale, Wyoming has the benefit of an attractive tax structure.
Johnson said the 0 percent corporate income tax rate is a draw all of its own.
“The tax structure makes us a really great place to do business,” she said.
The Kauffman Index ranking considered a number of things before putting Wyoming at the number two spot.
One of those things was that in Wyoming, 88.7 percent of new startups were created by people who were not coming out of unemployment to start a business.
For Kyle Small, who recently started Destination West Limos with Darren Small, the new business is in addition to full-time work.
The Smalls moved to Sheridan with the hope of tapping into tourism.
“The number one reason was because it was a good centralized location to tap into the tourism market in Yellowstone and the Black Hills,” Small said.
They had the skill and Sheridan offered the opportunity, the Smalls said.
This past year, Wyoming had 0.32 percent rate of new entrepreneurs, approximately 1,400 residents. That percentage is based on the number of adults in the population who became entrepreneurs.