Entrepreneurs survey: Ohio lags in new, minority-owned businesses

While nearly one in 10 U.S. firms with paid employees had been in business for less than two years in 2014, according to the survey, less than 7 percent of Ohio companies were new.

Ohio ranked 43rd out of 50 states plus the District of Columbia for new businesses with employees.

The state fared better when it came to women-owned (24th) and veteran-owned businesses (20th).

The survey, a supplement to the Census’ Survey of Business Owners conducted every five years, is intended to give a socio-economic portrait of the nation’s employer businesses by gender, ethnicity, race, and veteran status. It also is the first survey to include the number of years a firm has been in business.

Although data wasn’t available down to the level of the Dayton metro area, some say the startup scene here is more promising than statewide or national numbers reflect.

“We have some issues here. We are dealing with challenges. But folks that I deal with are not discouraged, they are not giving up,” said Daved Levitan, a leader of the downtown Nucleus CoShare for entrepreneurs that recently announced it is expanding to Fairborn. “There is a tremendous amount of very positive momentum.”

Nucleus is among a number of efforts in the area hoping to foster small business startups in an increasingly competitive funding climate.

“There are many of us who don’t feel that Dayton’s salvation is going to come because some gigantic corporation decides to locate here,” Levitan said. Instead he sees the collective bootstrap efforts of individual entrepreneurs helping to increase the number of new businesses with employees.

In other highlights from the survey, Hawaii and California led all states in the percentage of all employer businesses that were minority-owned, at 54 percent and 32 percent, respectively.

The vast majority of employers are small businesses. Nearly 79 percent of firms had fewer than 10 employees in 2014, according to the survey. Less than 1 percent of U.S. firms have 500 or more employees.

“Part of the challenge with entrepreneurial support systems is that they tend to be geared towards big opperations,” Levitan said. “The reality is there is a sea of smaller entrepreneurs that the typical support mechanisms don’t really serve very well.”

Minority-owned businesses also face barriers to entry locally, he said. It’s one issue the startup community is trying to change.

Several organizations are teaming up to host the first-ever Dayton Startup Week, September 12-16.

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