Small businesses have long been a cornerstone of Mississippi's economy, since few large corporate headquarters or R&D facilities are based here. Indeed, many new college grads choose to start their careers by launching a business, said Tony Jeff, CEO of Innovate Mississippi, a nonprofit that helps early-stage companies.
Startups can get help doing research and finding capital through Mississippi State University's Entrepreneurship Center. They also can enroll in business-training bootcamps offered throughout the state by the Mississippi Development Authority.
Many entrepreneurs are drawn to the state's growing telecom, tech, oil & gas, and biomass energy industries.
Meanwhile, cost-conscious entrepreneurs find Mississippi's modest costs appealing. Living here is cheap, low salaries keep payroll costs down, and personal income and business tax rates are far below the national average.
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.