Some states are better launch pads for startups than others -- a lot better. They make licensing a snap, keep taxes low and go out of their way to help entrepreneurs succeed with training and guidance. A survey earlier this year from Thumbtack.com and the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation revealed the best -- and, ugh, most challenging -- states and cities for entrepreneurs. Below, find out which states earned an A- or better grade -- and the laggards with D+ grades or worse.

Within the average-to-mediocre states for small businesses, the survey also uncovered several entrepreneurial oases -- in other words, cities where startups can thrive.

  • Colorado Springs, Colo.
  • Indianapolis
  • Las Vegas
  • Minneapolis
  • Nashville, Tenn.
  • Raleigh, N.C. 

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