8. Hawaii
entrepreneurial states hawaii
2012 startup rate: 400 per 100,000 adults

Let's face it, who wouldn't want to start a business in Hawaii? It boasts world-class beaches, great weather and a relaxed lifestyle.

Tourism and defense, the state's two biggest industries, traditionally have been key drivers of Hawaii's small businesses. Lately, the state is seeing a spurt in technology startups, too, said Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D-Hawaii).

Young, visionary companies can take advantage of public and private initiatives. The state supports tech and digital media startups through incentives such as tax credits. Grants are available to small businesses pursuing innovations in renewable energy and sustainable agriculture, Hanabusa said.

Technology accelerators like Blue Startups, started by Tetris founder Henk Rogers, are mentoring an expanding network of internet, software, mobile and e-commerce firms.

Living costs and business expenses can be higher in Hawaii than in other states. "But entrepreneurs are overcoming these factors," said Hanabusa. "They see the appeal of being their own boss in the creative environment that Hawaii offers."


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.
- Last updated June 20 2013 11:48 AM ET
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