Alaska may be icy cold, but it enjoys a brisk entrepreneurial climate too.
"Alaska still lacks many services that are available in the rest of the United States," said Rachel Petro, president and CEO of Alaska's Chamber of Commerce. As a result, there's lots of potential to introduce products and services from the mainland.
Niche businesses that cater to Alaska's robust tourism industry do particularly well here. Think bed & breakfasts, food and craft stores, and restaurants.
Cities like Anchorage are helping encourage the startup scene by offering $13.2 million in loans to small businesses.
But doing business in Alaska isn't cheap: Labor, transportation, and shipping costs are high compared to other states. Those expenses are partly offset, though, by the state's low business taxes and lack of income or sales taxes, Petro added.
These metro areas rate highest for ease of starting a business, government support of entrepreneurs, and more, according to a recent Thumbtack survey of more than 8,000 small businesses.