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Forbes names North Dakota best state to start a business

Formal portrait of Michael Howe - Secretary of State
Poppy Mills/NDDOT
NDDOT - Photo Archive
Formal portrait of Michael Howe - Secretary of State

North Dakota was chosen two years in a row.

For two years running – Forbes Advisor has named North Dakota the best state to start a business.

Secretary of State Michael Howe says his office prides itself on the easy and accessible process to getting a business up and running in the state. He says Forbes looked 18 different metrics when determining which states were the most business friendly – and North Dakota scored high in most of them. Ultimately, Howe says business owners have a variety of economical options when it comes to getting started.

"The cost it takes to start a business - upfront costs. In North Dakota, the filing fee for an LLC is $135; relatively cheap compared to other states. Each year you have to file an annual report, that's $50. Again, these are low prices points for businesses. They looked at taxes, workforce, all things that North Dakota has a great variety of options for businesses to get started here - as well as some incentives that our state legislature has gone through, and our department of commerce."

Howe says the Secretary of State’s office works closely with state government, the tax and commerce departments, and the University System to fine tune its services to businesses. He says one of the most important aspects is being efficient with time.

"At the height of the oil boom, it would sometimes take six weeks to get a business license. In 2023, our average turnaround time for a business license was 3.75 days, which is a decrease from 6.6 days from 2022. So we are only becoming a more efficient state government working for businesses and the taxpayer. And that's something we are very proud of."

Howe says most recently, the Legislature approved funds to improve the Secretary of State’s online filing system to make it even more expedient. He says since he took office last year, they’ve done even more fine tuning of the state’s systems to become even more business friendly.