The Kauffman Foundation publishes a yearly index that measures business startup activity across the top metropolitan areas in the United States. According to the May 2017 report, St. Louis showed the greatest upward movement in the startup activity rankings — a clear indication that entrepreneurship is on the rise.
In 2016, the Startup Activity Index ranked St. Louis as number 36 on the list of 39 metro areas. This year, St. Louis has moved up the ranks to number 26.
To arrive at these rankings, the activity index measured three key components:
- Rate of new entrepreneurs – “the percentage of adults becoming entrepreneurs in a given month.” This measure offers an early indication of startup activity when someone just becomes a business owner. In St. Louis, the rate of entrepreneurs was 0.23 percent. This means that on average, 230 people out of every 100,000 became entrepreneurs each month.
- Opportunity share for new entrepreneurs – “the percentage of new entrepreneurs driven primarily by ‘opportunity’ as opposed to ‘necessity’.” This measure looks at the Rate of New Entrepreneurs who start their business while still employed, an early indicator of success potential. In St. Louis, the opportunity share was 77.39 percent. This means that roughly eight out of every 10 new entrepreneurs had other jobs or were in school before they started their business.
- Startup density – “the rate at which businesses with employees are created in the economy.” This measure looks at the number of firms — that employ at least one person and are less than a year old — per 1,000 businesses. In St. Louis, the startup density was 96.7 percent. This means that for every 1,000 businesses there were roughly 97 employer startup firms less than one year old.
Another notable Missouri metro area for startup activity is Kansas City, ranking 15th, right after San Francisco. Like St. Louis, Kansas City also moved up in its rankings from last year when it was 19th.
The upward trend in entrepreneurial activity across major metros in Missouri may encourage aspiring entrepreneurs to make the leap toward business ownership. At William Woods, Bachelor of Science in Business Administration students can choose to concentrate in Entrepreneurial Management, a concentration ideal for those looking to learn the ins and outs of starting a business. For graduate students, William Woods also offers a specialized MBA in Entrepreneurial Leadership.