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Portland gets skewered in small business rankings

The rankings are based on surveys of 5,000-plus small business owners.
Credit: Rod Stevens

PORTLAND, Ore. — Portland's small business climate has received middling-to-bad grades from a website that helps users find local service professionals.

San Francisco-based Thumbtack revealed this week that Portland's overall landscape merited a "C" grade within the company's Small Business Friendliness Survey. That puts the Rose City solidly in the second tier among the 44 cities Thumbtack studied.

The rankings are based on surveys of 5,000-plus small business owners. Thumbtack quizzed respondents on such categories as licensing requirements, tax regulations and the ease with which they can hire workers.

SLIDESHOW: Which cities have the best climate for small businesses?

The company, which effectively pairs professionals with jobs, gave Portland "C-pluses" in two categories: the ease of starting a business and training and networking programs. The city earned "C's" in the tax code and government website categories and "C-minuses" in terms of "employment, labor and hiring" and "licensing.

Portland earned "D-pluses" in terms of "ease of hiring" and "regulations."

The city had earned a "B" in the survey in 2015, collecting an "A" grade in terms of area training and networking options.

Whereas small businesses employ 55 percent of Oregon's workers, entrepreneurs have lately experienced issues finding startup funds. As the Business Journal reported last year, the trend has hit women- and minority-owned business owners particularly hard: Fewer than 20 percent of Small Business Administration-backed loans in Oregon went to women-owned businesses in 2017. There's also been a 96 percent drop in the number of SBA loans made to black-owned businesses over the past decade.

Click through the slideshow to discover where each city ranks in the Thumbtack Small Business Friendliness Survey.

The Portland Business Journal is a KGW News partner.

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