Website recognizes Washington County for small business successes | News, Sports, Jobs

MARIETTA – SmartAsset, a leading online destination for financial advice, recently listed Washington County fifth among Ohio counties for small businesses.

“We hope this study gives people local context on small business presence in their community,” said Alyssa Annunziato, senior public relations associate. “This study specifically shows the places in each state where small businesses are most common, as well as the counties with the most overall small business income.”

She said to determine the best places, their study measured three factors – the proportion of people in a county with small business income, the reported business income and the amount of tax a potential resident must pay on their income.

“To determine how attractive a region is for small business owners, we compared the number of tax returns that report small business income and compared that to the total tax-filing population of the region,” she said. “Next, we compared the total amount of small business income to the overall amount of income reported in each region.”

The three factors were then indexed and equally weighted to yield their Small Business Index, she said. Places with the highest Small Business Index are the places which ranked the highest in the study.

Washington County Commissioner Kevin Ritter said the county is an excellent location for small businesses for several reasons.

“A ready workforce, a top-rated career center, a top-rated community college, relatively low cost real estate, proximity to several large markets within an easily-drivable distance and a low cost of living,” he said.

He said both Washington State Community College and the Washington County Career Center are flexible in terms of designing programs based upon workforce needs.

“They, along with Marietta College, do an excellent job training young people for local jobs,” Ritter said. “For small companies looking to purchase land or a building, costs here are much better than in more urban areas. If they are seeking to attract talent, our relatively low cost-of-living can be very attractive. ”

Jesse Roush, Southeastern Ohio Port Authority director, said the fifth place ranking is powered by two things, in his opinion.

“First, our county is home to a world class workforce, and that also applies to our small business owners,” he said. “The business leaders in our county are innovative and industrious, which makes Washington County home to several unique companies, many of which compete for market share on a global level.”

Roush said when a hard-working business owner builds a great workforce, it’s a recipe for success and dozens of small businesses do that well throughout the county.

Roush believes the second reason for the ranking is because of the county’s robust resource network.

“We have great educational institutions training our workforce. Several area nonprofits provide mission-critical support to organizations in a multitude of ways, ” he said. “And from the commissioners, to the mayors and city councils, to the county engineer, the building department, the Small Business Development Center, and many more, there are several public sector organizations working together to make sure our business community thrives.”

Roush said the county’s business ecosystem is second to none and that’s why it is home to so many great small businesses.

Washington County was not the only county in the region to make the top 10 in Ohio. Meigs County was listed in seventh place, while Monroe ranked eighth.

The study was done in all 50 states. Four local counties in West Virginia were named in the top 10: Pleasants County ranked fifth, Jackson County ranked seventh, Calhoun County ranked eighth and Tyler County ranked 10th.

Michele Newbanks can be reached at

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