Which state is number one in entrepreneurship in the nation? That’s right: our very own state of Georgia. I, too, was surprised to learn of the findings of the Kauffman Foundation’s 2008 Index of Entrepreneurial Activity, released earlier this month. Georgia ranks first, with 580 entrepreneurs per 100,000 adults, and our capital Atlanta tops U.S. metropolitan cities with 740 per 100,000 adults!
Then again it should not have been a surprise given that working at ACCION USA we come in daily contact with many budding and seasoned entrepreneurs. So we like to think that we had something to do with Georgia’s ranking. Last year, ACCION USA Georgia alone helped 134 entrepreneurs with $751,082 in loans. Interestingly, Massachusetts and New York, where two of the other ACCION USA offices operate, follow in the third and fourth spot. Impressive, right? And there’s good news throughout the country, with all regions showing an increase in entrepreneurial activity from 2007 to 2008. With our Internet lending we reach out and help entrepreneurs all over the nation, so “yay” to us ACCIONistas (and goes without saying our many colleagues and partners in the microfinance field).
Kudos also go to the small business owners: the Index reports that it is the smallest businesses just like our clients (a good percentage of which are immigrant-owned) that drive this trend. Larger businesses, on the other hand, show a decline in entrepreneurial activity, which is not surprising given the current state of our economy. Small businesses come to the rescue, yet again, and tackle recession by creating jobs and increasing prospects for their families, employees and communities. This just goes to prove that ACCION USA’s mission is right on target. So the next time you come across an entrepreneur who is looking for help with starting or growing a business, send him/her our way; chances are there is one right around the corner.
As for us down South, that person is probably sitting right next to you. So if the rest of you still think the South is laid back – a common (mis)perception – think again all y’all. Come visit Georgia, the state of entrepreneurs (oh, yes, and peaches too).