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Bentley Cook, co-founder of health care technology startup Sensevery, talks about the company's wireless monitoring system at last year's event.

Best small business climate states

1. Texas

2. New Hampshire

3. Utah

4. Louisiana

5. Colorado

6. Idaho

7. Tennessee

8. Virginia

9. Georgia

Source: Thumbtack survey of nearly 18,000 U.S. small businesses

Small business owners gave Tennessee an A for its business friendliness for the second year in a row, landing the Volunteer State state as the 7th best state in the nation for its overall small business climate, according to a business survey released Tuesday.

The nationwide survey of nearly 18,000 U.S. small businesses by the San Francisco-based tech firm Thumbtack, which included 316 responses from Tennessee, rated Texas as the best state for small business and Rhode Island as the worst state, based upon responses and ratings in seven business categories. Georgia, which also earned an A for its overall business friendliness, ranked No. 9 among the best states for small business.

The study asked respondents to rate their state and city governments across a broad range of policy factors. Thumbtack then evaluated states and cities against one another along more than a dozen metrics.

"Small business owners on Thumbtack have consistently told us that they welcome support from their governments but are frequently frustrated by unnecessary bureaucratic obstacles," Jon Lieber, chief economist of Thumbtack, said in the report. "Tennessee's strong showing again in our survey underscores the importance the state has placed on creating an environment where small businesses can thrive."

Businesses rated Tennessee favorably for its taxes, regulations, licensing, zoning and ease of starting a business. But businesses gave only a "B" grade for the ease of hiring and the lowest "F" grade for state and local training and networking programs.

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