BOISE -- A new study found that Idaho is great for helping businesses startup, but not so good at helping them stay afloat.
"That's what we tried to focus in on is fertility and life-expectancy of businesses in the state," said Dr. Brian Greber, director of the Business Research and Economic Development Center at Boise State University.
Dr. Greber and Jesse Baker worked together on the study, which shows that from 2000-2010, Idaho was one of the top states in the nation for creating business. Or, as Greber puts in layman's health terms again, "We're a very fertile state. We give birth with the best of them."
But research showed Idaho was one of the worst states in another category. "We also were among the worst in business mortality," said Greber.
So, while Idaho sees a lot of startups, the study shows not nearly enough of those last. Greber says in the last three years, 20 to 26 percent of businesses five years old or younger, died. "We're hitting it out of the park on new business startups... But, as we started to roll this out to policy-makers, the light has gone on that we need to start profiling more highly in this state our business growth, our business survival rate."
Greber says the lawmakers and business leaders who saw the study say it supports with facts and figures what they've thought for awhile. But, what's to be done about it?
The answer could be on Idaho's doorstep. The study highlights five states that have high business birth rate and low business mortality. Two of them border Idaho -- Wyoming and Montana. Greber says these states seem to have better governmental resources for business survival, and try to collaborate with neighboring states to help business throughout their region -- not just within their state borders.
But, he also says more research into those states' strategies needs to be done. Also, he says it needs to be done by state leaders in conjunction with people who own and rely on new Idaho business, so they keep relying on it for years to come. "Maybe start putting their oar in the water with policy-makers in not just, 'What do I need to open my doors, but what do I need to keep my doors open?'"
Greber says some don't believe high business mortality rate is necessarily a bad thing, that a lot of startups, and the surivival of the fittest of those is just the law of the capitalist jungle. But, Greber points out, business mortality does add costs with unemployment, vacated property, and bankruptcies.
You can check out the study here.