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.
Source: 2013 Kauffman Index of Entrepreneurial Activity, published by the Kauffman Foundation. The 2012 startup rate for each state is based on a yearly national survey of about half a million people -- adults aged 20 to 64 who start a business each month with 15 or more hours worked. In Montana, for example, Kauffman found that 530 of every 100,000 adults started businesses in 2012.