In North Dakota, nearly all business is small business

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During National Small Business Week, it seems appropriate to look at some of the numbers behind small business in North Dakota.

The first statistic seems amazing at first glance: Over 98.8 percent of all businesses in the state are considered small businesses.

But  “the devil is in the details,” as the worn cliche goes. The U.S. Small Business Administration defines a “small business” as any firm employing fewer than 500 people.

In North Dakota, what’s considered “small” nationally is “big” locally.

A state business that employs 100 or more people is considered big, relatively speaking, when compared to the the large number of shops employing 20 or fewer people.

In fact, according to U.S. Small Business Administration numbers, roughly 86 percent of all North Dakota firms with employees are in the 1 to 20 employee range. The remaining 14 percent represent the firms that have more than 20 and less than 500 employees.

There are 72,723 small businesses in North Dakota, employing 210,948 people, or about 58 percent of all North Dakota employees.

According to the SBA, in the third quarter of 2017, North Dakota’s economy grew at an annual rate of 1.7 percent, slower than the national growth rate of 3.4 percent at the same time

These, and other statistics, are in North Dakota’s “2018 Small Business Profile Report,” available from the SBA to read and download.

Meanwhile, personal finance website WalletHub released its report on 2018’s “Best Large Cities to Start a Business.”

Bismarck ranks 7th on the list, while Fargo comes in at 37th.

The study developed its rankings based on 19 economic measurements in three categories: Business environment, access to resources and business cost.

Bismarck ranked above the survey average for financing accessibility, cost of living, length of the average work week, share of college educated people and industry variety.

The full report and more information is available here.

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