Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Jacksonville Ranked for Small Businesses; This Latest Survey Reveals Underlying Trends for the City

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Jacksonville Ranked for Small Businesses; This Latest Survey Reveals Underlying Trends for the City

Article excerpt

Byline: Drew Dixon

Jacksonville is getting another nod of recognition for developing a culture of startup and small business entrepreneurial growth in the city. It's another notch for Jacksonville that points to a more significant development for Jacksonville as a business town.

Thumbtack.com, a business development website, named Jacksonville the second best small business city in the United States for "small business economic sentiment." Jacksonville was topped only by Oklahoma City, Okla. Trailing behind Jacksonville were Riverside, Calif., Charleston, S.C., and Houston, respectively.

"It's great for Jacksonville. I think that it shows that the economy is doing well there and that small business are really optimistic about the outlook for the future of the city," said Jon Lieber, chief economist for Thumbtack.com at its headquarters in San Francisco, Calif.

"What we've seen in other cities across the country is a general decline in what people are saying about the outlook on the economy. In Jacksonville, that looks like it's going up," Lieber said.

Though local experts acknowledge that such Internet rankings are more frequent now, they say the recent drumbeat of surveys involving the city reveals an important development: Jacksonville is being talked about more as a place to do business.

Janice Donaldson, regional director of the Florida Small Business Development Center at University of North Florida, said, sure, the Thumbtack.com ranking is yet another Internet site assessment. But the survey of so many business people in the report bolsters Jacksonville's growing reputation of being startup friendly.

"The results are based on a survey," Donaldson said. "It all boils down to the visibility for entrepreneurs and small businesses in this area. It is continuing to climb."

There were about 18,000 small-business people surveyed in the monthly report and assessment of about 65 cities. In Jacksonville, there were 134 participants in the Thumbtack.com survey.

The Jacksonville participants collectively gave Jacksonville a small business favorable ranking of 67.13 on a scale of 100. The highest score Thumbtack. …

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