15 Fascinating Minnesota Small Business Statistics


The Land of a Thousand Lakes has a diverse economy. Its agricultural sector remains a major part of the state's economy, ranking sixth in the nation in the value of products sold, from sweet corn, sugar beets, and peas to farm-bred turkey. In fact, 33 of the top 1000 publicly traded companies, such as Target, 3M, Land O’ Lakes, and the largest privately owned company in the United States, Carlson Companies, are headquartered in Minnesota.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Minnesota has the highest five-year business survival rate in America. This means that businesses in the state, specifically small businesses (SMBs), are thriving. The state administration offers incentives like the angel tax credit, research and development tax credit, and opportunity zones to help entrepreneurs and start-ups expand or relocate to Minnesota.

Below are some statistics on small businesses in the Gopher State:

  • There are 526,350 small businesses in Minnesota that account for 99.5% of all businesses in the state. 
  • From 2015 to 2020, Minnesota had a business survival rate of 55.3%, meaning over half of the businesses open in 2015 were still open in 2020. This rate is higher than the national average.
  • Over 1.3 million people are employed by small businesses across Minnesota and they represent 46.9% of all employees in the state.
  • As of April 2020, Minnesota had an unemployment rate of 8.1%, up from 3.2% in 2019. Part of this is due to the crippling COVID-19 lockdowns that forced most businesses to halve their workforce or close down indefinitely.
  • Minnesota had over 151,886 workers employed by small businesses in the leisure and hospitality sector, or nearly 10% of the state workforce.
  • There are 7,363 small businesses in the export businesses in Minnesota. They are responsible for 23.8% of the state’s $21.2 billion worth of export revenue.
  • Self-employed individuals who run incorporated businesses have an average median income of $52,000, which is $24,000 more than those with unincorporated businesses.
  • To form a corporation in Minnesota, you need to file your Articles of Incorporation with the Secretary of State’s office. The filing fee is $135.
  • Businesses with fewer than 25 employees and are engaged in the research or development of qualifying high-technology can qualify for up to $1 million in angel tax credits.
  • Businesses that build new data or network operation centers of at least 25,000 square feet and invest $30 million or refurbish an existing center of at least 25,000 square feet and invest $50 million qualify for sales tax exemptions for 20 years on computers and servers.
  • Five industries lead the state with the largest number of small businesses:
    • Professional, scientific, and technical services (76,133)
    • Construction (55,304)
    • Retail trade (51,798)
    • Real estate and rental and leasing (50,511)
    • Health care and social assistance (38,876)
  • In 2018 Minnesota banks issued 92,284 loans under $100,000 to small businesses— a total of $1.5 billion.
  • Three industries boast the largest share of small business employees:
    • Health care and social assistance (216,828)
    • Accommodation and food services (151,886)
    • Retail trade (117,274)
  • To form an LLC in Minnesota, you need to file your Articles of Incorporation with the Secretary of State. The filing fee is $135–$155.


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