The Main Stream

Jul 4, 2012 10:33 AM

Study ranks AZ as top state for entrepreneurs

TUCSON-If you're an entrepreneur and looking to start a business in Tucson, you're in the right place. A recent study ranks Arizona as the number one state where people are likely to launch a start-up.

According to the Kauffman Index of Entrepreneurial Activity, 520 out of every 100,000 adults in Arizona started businesses in 2011.

"There are many reasons why it's a good state," says Sherry Hoskinson of the McGuire Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Arizona.

Hoskinson credits Arizona's good weather, as well as access to high profile universities like the U of A and ASU. "There are a lot of creative sources from universities and labs, a lot of innovation, and a lot of new ideas to build on," Hoskinson says.

Most of the start-ups in Tucson fall under the aerospace, optical sciences, or bio industries. "Arizona has been really fertile, it's a comfortable place to do work and the community's really supportive and well-connected," Entrepreneur William Masson says.

Masson is a project manager for a Tucson start-up called Acudora. The company launched in May 2011, selling equipment that helps the hearing impaired. "The goal is to grow as much as we can and service as many people as we can," Masson says.

But he knows all too well the challenges entrepreneurs face. "There's four of us here full time and we probably do the work of a company two to three times larger," Masson says.

Hoskinson says the number one obstacle start-ups face is money, especially among high growth technology companies. "They can be very capital intensive, taking anywhere from $23 million to $40 million," Hoskinson says.

She warns that in order for business owners like Masson to maintain Arizona's entrepreneurial momentum, focusing on capital and leadership will be key.

Other states ranked by Kauffman in the top 10 places to start a business include Texas, California, Colorado, Alaska, Missouri, Nevada, Vermont, Idaho and Florida.

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