Finger Lakes tops the class for business friendliness in New York

Apr 8, 2013

The grades are in and the Finger Lakes region is top-of-the-class for business friendliness in New York state. That’s the conclusion of a new small businesses survey conducted by But the survey also shows that the state still lags in a national comparison.

New York state got an overall rating of D+ from business owners, but scored an F in the case of the "starting a business" category.

The Finger Lakes and Western New York swam against the tide, emerging as the top-rated regions in the state and improving their scores significantly from last year.

“We think that part of this can be attributed to local leaders seeming more attentive to the needs of small business owners than state leaders,” said Nathan Allen, a lead researcher on the report from Allen says both regions ranked highly for ease of starting a business, unlike New York state as a whole.

The level of training and networking programs in western New York helped boost the ranking there, and the Finger Lakes region got a nod for the ease of hiring new employees.

However, there’s still room for improvement.

The Finger Lakes area was ranked poorly for the friendliness of its health and safety regulations, and business owners say western New York’s licensing regulations need an overhaul.

Idaho, New Hampshire and Alabama all ranked highly across the nation, each receiving an A+ grade.

For more from the Innovation Trail, visit their website at

The Innovation Trail is a collaboration between six upstate New York public media outlets. The initiative, funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), helps the public gain a better understanding of the connection between technological breakthroughs and the revitalization of the upstate New York economy.