By: Lisa Gibson, Prairie Business Magazine
In its annual look at innovation in all U.S. states, the Consumer Technology Association has named North Dakota an innovation champion, the highest of the four distinctions, for its growth in 2015. The state ranked first in the country for entrepreneurial activity, judged by the average number of small firms created per capita.
The innovation champions ranked highly in right-to-work legislation, fast internet access, a robust entrepreneurial climate and open posture to new business models and technologies. North Dakota’s grades in the measured categories include: A+ in right to work, B- in granting STEM degrees, B for tax-friendly, A+ in entrepreneurial activity, B+ in fast internet, B in tech workforce, A in welcoming new business models and a D+ in attracting investment. That D+ could mean the state is not attracting enough venture capital money, or perhaps not enough startups are seeking venture capital money, says Izzy Santa, CTA senior manager of policy communication. In 2015, a total of only $10.48 in venture capital was spent per capita in the state, with research and development investment of about $300 per capita. To compare, the champion of attracting investment, Massachusetts, saw about $800 in research and development investment, Santa says.
From 2009 to 2013, North Dakota created 28,000 jobs, 16,000 with newly established firms. “Over the last few years, the state has really been a hub for growth,” Santa says. North Dakota’s key gains were in legalized ridesharing, friendly tax policies that allow entrepreneurism and job growth.
North Dakota was ranked an innovation leader in 2014, the second-highest distinction, and South Dakota was ranked an innovation champion. The states switched rankings in 2015. “There’s a bit of friendly competition going on,” Santa says. Minnesota also was ranked an innovation leader for 2015.
North Dakota shares its innovation champion title with Arizona, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Indiana, Kansas, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nebraska, Texas, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin. To see the entire scorecard, visit www.cta.tech/scorecard.
“It’s incredible North Dakota really made such a huge leap,” Santa says.
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