Minnesota ranked first for business

Minnesota ranked first for business

Sadman Rahman

After lingering around a 10th-place ranking for the last eight years, Minnesota has found a place at the top of a list of the best states for business.
 
A CNBC study published last month named Minnesota as the best state for business in 2015. Among other strong points, the state’s higher education ranking helped it top the list, though some University leaders said they think the state still has room to improve.
 
The study spanned all 50 states and divided the rankings into 10 separate categories, including technology and innovation, infrastructure and economy.
 
According to the study, the state’s access to skilled labor brought up its ranking.
 
The study’s lead, Scott Cohn, said the presence of research institutes in states across the country help improve states’ ranking.
 
“Higher education, in general, figures into all these categories,” Cohn said, adding that states receiving more money for research upped their rank in the technology and innovation category, where Minnesota came in sixth.
 
The study also used public data from each state, which Cohn said helped keep it balanced.
 
At the University of Minnesota, students and startup companies can compete in the annual Minnesota Cup in order to network with other businesses and win funding
to get started.
 
The competition has hosted more than 10,000 participants with ideas for new businesse ventures over 10 years, and it has helped entrepreneurs get off their feet and ultimately add to the state’s economy, said John Stavig, director at the Gary S. Holmes Center for Entrepreneurship in the Carlson School of Management.
 
The competition, which was previously only open to University students, now accepts applications from businesspeople across the state, he said.“It is a platform for innovative ideas,” Stavig said. “People are trying to move forward.”
 
Still, Stavig said the state’s startup rate could increase because it’s lower in Minnesota than in other states.
 
And despite the high ranking, the state still has room to improve business, said Maura Donovan, executive director at the Office of University EconomicDevelopment.
 
“This should be motivation for further improvement and not a reason to stop,” Donovan said.