Indianapolis dodges bullet in small-biz study

July 15, 2011
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Those of us living in the industrial Midwest are accustomed to wincing before we crack open labor market studies.

But that wasn’t necessary for a new look at the smallest businesses in the nation’s 50 largest markets. Indianapolis, the only Indiana metro large enough to be lumped into Kiva and Visa's "Small Business Trouble Spots," didn't even come in for a mention. The study ranked changes in the number of businesses with fewer than 10 employees, and there was plenty of carnage all around Indianapolis.

Two Interstate 70 peers, Kansas City and Columbus, lost 2 percent of those smallest businesses between 2006 and 2008. (The recession started in December 2007 and ended in June 2009.) Cincinnati, Cleveland, Detroit, Louisville, Milwaukee, Memphis and St. Louis all lost at least 1 percent of those businesses.

It wasn’t as if Indianapolis thrived during that stretch. The overall number of jobs barely held steady. But treading water was enough to make the area something of an island.

What’s your perception of Indianapolis as a place for small companies to do business? It’s long been considered particularly stable due to the presence of state government and its diversified economy. Indianapolis doesn’t experience big upsides, but neither does it suffer huge declines.

If you weren’t doing business here, where would you rather be?

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