Marylanders keep busy starting up new businesses

The Baltimore Sun

Maryland is a pretty spirited place for entrepreneurial activity.

Last year, 320 adults per 100,000 residents started new businesses each month, according to a recent study by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, a Kansas City, Mo., nonprofit group that encourages entrepreneurship.

The Free State ranks 20th out of the 50 states in business creation with an entrepreneurial activity rate of 0.32 percent.

It trailed top-tier states such as the District of Columbia, Louisiana, Wyoming, Georgia and California, which saw entrepreneurial activity rates ranging from 0.40 percent to 0.46 percent.

States with the lowest start-up rates included neighboring Delaware, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Virginia as well as Ohio, Alabama and Hawaii.

Overall, the Kauffman Index of Entrepreneurial Activity found that 495,000 businesses were started per month in 2007, with 0.30 percent of the U.S. adult population involved in the start-up process.

In Maryland, state officials and academics have put a premium on entrepreneurship, especially commercializing strong research and discoveries done at universities such as the Johns Hopkins and University System of Maryland schools.

Several universities also have academic programs, centers and incubators to encourage and accommodate budding entrepreneurs on campus.

The Kauffman Foundation's study also uncovered some interesting trends in this sector, which is responsible for a bulk of the economic growth we've seen in recent years.

Here are some highlights:

*Men are twice as likely as women to start a business each month, a bigger difference than in previous years of the index. Entrepreneurial activity among men increased last year, while it declined for women.

*Immigrants are far more likely to start a business than native-born Americans.

*The construction industry saw the highest level of entrepreneurial activity, followed by the services sector.

*Manufacturing saw the least start-up activity.

*Among the 15 largest metropolitan areas in the United States, Phoenix showed the highest level of entrepreneurial activity.

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