The United States is regarded as the land of opportunity, and rightly so. Small businesses have been the backbone of the United States’ thriving economy for a number of years. Most businesses that are started begin with a dream, someone’s lifelong ambition, which then evolves into a small business.

Alaska, despite its low population and relative infancy as a state, is no stranger to small businesses; in fact, it has the 49th smallest population out of all 50 states, however, the number of small businesses in relation to its population is truly impressive.

The Last Frontier’s economic stability and influence have been increasing tremendously over recent years. Over the past several years, Alaska is slowly becoming an attractive state for business due to the government’s pro-business approach, having a skilled workforce, low and competitive tax incentives, high rate of gross migration, and a good quality of life.

Number of Small Businesses in Alaska

So, how many small businesses are there in Alaska? There are 73,298 small businesses in Alaska, according to the latest figures (2020) from the SBA.

It is not just Americans and Alaskans starting small businesses in Alaska; the state attracts some international business people too. There are 2,552 immigrant entrepreneurs in Alaska that account for 6% of all self-employed Alaska residents.

The following bar graph shows the number of small businesses in Alaska in 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020.

How many small businesses in Alaska

Of the 73,298 small businesses in Alaska in 2020, there is a wide array of different enterprises from small, one-person sole proprietorships or LLCs to much larger businesses with many more employees. If you want to join the 73,298 small businesses in Alaska, it is fairly easy to register a business in Alaska.

Let’s take a deeper dive into the number of small businesses in Alaska by looking at the top industries, business owners, employees, and more!

Small Businesses in Alaska 2020 overview

  • Small businesses equate to over 99.1% of all businesses in Alaska.
  • There are 137,271 small business employees in Alaska, which is 52.4% of the states’ employees.
  • In 2019, Small Businesses in Alaska added 2,277 new jobs!
  • Small businesses employing fewer than 20 employees created the most job gains!
  • There are 10,413 self-employed minorities in Alaska demonstrating the diversity in the state.
  • International trade is active in Alaska, and there are 587 small business exporters in the state.
  • There are more agricultural, forestry, and fishing, and hunting small businesses in Alaska than any other type – 9,088.
  • Professional, scientific, and technical services firms make up the 2nd largest number of small businesses in Alaska – 8,398.

Top 5 small business industries in Alaska

How Many Small Businesses in Alaska?

Over 73,000 are a lot of small businesses to be registered in such a small state in terms of population, which makes the number of small businesses in Alaska so impressive. The total number of small businesses in Alaska is 0.23% of all U.S. businesses. There are 31.7 million small businesses in the U.S.

The small business growth in Alaska over the past several years has been unique, to say the least, with the number of small businesses rising usually in an upward trajectory, some years have witnessed the number of small businesses drop off slightly. In 2017 there were 72,042 small businesses, which is a 4.23% increase from the previous year (2016).

However, the total number dropped in 2018 to 71,841, representing a -0.27% decrease from the previous year, this number did increase in the following year of 2019 when it rose by 2.10% to 73,354. The upward projection only lasted one year though as another decrease in 2020 occurred, with the total number of small businesses going down to 73,298, marking a -0.07% decrease.

Despite the number of small businesses, not increasing consistently each year, this doesn’t take away from the fact that Alaska has a brilliant environment for small businesses, especially if the business you wish to start is in one of the leading state industries. This is due to the state’s business-friendly taxation system, international access by land, sea, and air, an outdoors way of life, no income or sales tax, and strong population and migration growth.

If you would like to download the latest 2020 Small Business Profile on Alaska from the U.S. Small Business Administration, Office of Advocacy, the full Profile can be downloaded here.