Although there’s a lot of coverage in the mainstream media about big businesses — after all, they have the public relations firms and serve up stories on a platter to most outlets — a big part of Detroit story is small business.

However, there may be reason to pause regionally about the state of small business and maybe leaders should take a look.

According to a newly released survey by Thumbtack, the metro Detroit area gets a “D+” grade when it comes to small business friendliness.

And if you think it’s just about cranky small business owners, here’s some context.

The state of Michigan as a whole gets a “C,” and Grand Rapids got an “A+” grade, giving it fifth spot overall in the nation.

Metro Detroit ranked 72 out of 80 areas across the nation.

“The small business owners we heard from in Detroit were 6% less positive about their city’s support for small businesses than the national average, leading to their D+ grade overall,” said Thumbtack Economist Lucas Puente, PhD. “And compared to nearby cities, such as Grand Rapids (A+) and Cleveland (B+), Detroit scored lower.”

So, there’s work to do. But on what? Let’s break it down.

One of the factors that dragged down the ranking was the state of government technology. That F grade represents that in the opinion of survey takers, local government sites weren’t well designed, easy to use, or provided business owners the information they needed.

Another factor was a D+ grade for “ease of hiring.” Respondents found it difficult to find talent that matched the skills they were looking for. There also was a C- for zoning.

Metro Detroit received C grades for Ease of Starting a Business, Regulations, andHeath & Safety.

C+ grades from the survey for Employment, labor & hiring; Tax code; Environmental issues; and Licensing.

A bright spot was skilled training and networking programs, which got the highest grade, B. However, a high number of people, looking at the survey data, didn’t know about or use the networking groups and opportunities available (72%).

What’s your experience?

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