Small businesses have been the backbone of the United States’ booming economy for hundreds of years. Most of these businesses were started with a dream, someone’s lifelong ambition to do something they are passionate about, which then evolves to become a small business, or maybe even a large business eventually!

Iowa is certainly no stranger to small businesses, in fact, the state has made a conscious effort over the years to provide as much support to small business start-ups as possible, giving them the best chance to succeed in almost any environment.

The Hawkeye State is considered to be one of America’s top economic powerhouses. Over the past several years, it has been consistently voted as one of the top states for business due to the government’s pro-business approach, proximity to large consumer markets, high quality of life, and low cost of living.

Number of Small Businesses in Iowa

So, how many small businesses are there in Iowa? There are 272,555 small businesses in Iowa, according to the latest figures (2020) from the SBA.

It is not just Americans and Iowans starting small businesses in Iowa; the state attracts a decent number of international entrepreneurs and foreign-born people. There are 10,918 immigrant entrepreneurs in Iowa that account for 6% of all self-employed Iowa residents.

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

How many small businesses are there in Iowa

Of the 272,555 small businesses in Iowa in 2020, there is a wide array of different enterprises from small, one-person sole proprietorships or LLCs to much larger businesses with several hundred employees. If you want to join the 272,000-plus small businesses in the Hawkeye State, it is fairly straightforward to register a business in Iowa.

To be a small business in Iowa, you have to qualify as one. So, to operate as a small business in Iowa, you must have a company with less than 500 employees.

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

Latest Small Businesses Statistics in Iowa

  • Small businesses equate to over 99.3% of all businesses in Iowa.
  • There are 649,796 small business employees in Iowa, which is 46.2% of the states’ employees.
  • In 2019, Small Businesses in Iowa added 5,034 new jobs!
  • Small businesses employing 20-99 employees created the most job gains!
  • There are 11,843 self-employed minorities in Iowa demonstrating the diversity in the state.
  • International trade in Iowa is strong and there are 2,817 small business exporters.
  • There are more construction firms small businesses in Iowa than any other type – 34,420.
  • Retail Trade firms make up the 2nd largest number of small businesses in Iowa – 30,692.

Top 5 small business industries in Iowa

How Many Small Businesses in Iowa?

Over 272 thousand is a fair amount of small businesses to be registered in any one state, not to mention when compared with Iowa’s comparatively small population too. Relative to the rest of the U.S., the total number of small businesses in Iowa is 0.86% of all U.S. businesses. There are 31.7 million small businesses in the U.S.

The number of small businesses in Iowa has been growing steadily over the past several years. In 2017 there were 266,382 small businesses, which rose to 267,733 in 2018, representing a 0.5% increase. In 2019 there were 270,484 small businesses which was 2,751 more than the state had in 2018, representing a 1.02% increase.

From 2019 to 2020, the number of small businesses in Iowa rose again, to 272,555. This is the third-largest increase in percentage terms over the past five years (0.76%) and demonstrates Iowa’s strong economy.

Iowa has so much to offer employers and employees alike, with companies and entrepreneurs from all over the globe continuing to move to the Hawkeye State due to its solid infrastructure, high quality of life, brilliant education system, healthy import/export market, and abundance of business and economic opportunities to take advantage of.

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

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