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Shopify: Delaware is top spot for entrepreneurs

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F+L Boutique Middletown Delaware Amber Shader Shopify

Amber Shader, owner of F+L Boutique in Middletown (center with bag), said the state has supported her journey as an entrepreneur. Shopify ranked the First State at No. 1 overall in the U.S. | PHOTO COURTESY OF F+L BOUTIQUE

Middletown’s F+L Boutique owner Amber Shader has seen firsthand how supportive Delaware can be for local entrepreneurs.

So the fact that the First State earned first place in a new international index evaluating the economic impact of entrepreneurs by Shopify, a leading online e-commerce platform, wasn’t so surprising.

“It makes me proud to be an entrepreneur in Delaware,” Shader said, noting that expanding her brick-and-mortar business to international sales through Shopify has helped propel her boutique over the years. 

F+L Boutique Middletown Delaware Amber Shader Shopify

A new Shopify index ranked Delaware No. 1 in the U.S. for supporting entrepreneurs, like F+L Boutique’s Amber Shader. | PHOTO COURTESY OF F+L BOUTIQUE

Shader’s Main Street boutique in 2010 was one of the first businesses to participate in the former Delaware Economic Development Office’s Project Pop-Up Program, which provided new businesses rent-free opportunities — as well as other business growth tools — to grow and expand.

“At the very beginning of me becoming an entrepreneur, Delaware supported me,” Shader said, adding that Shopfiy is the boutique’s “global partner” allowing her to be “able to ship worldwide because of the ease of use.”

Shopify’s new index, which focuses on “entrepreneurs in Shopify’s ecosystem,” includes a database of year-over-year economic markers, such as job growth, gross domestic product (GDP) impact, exports, and business activity from 2021 to 2022 across 40 countries and all U.S. states. Data was collected by Deloitte, a major professional services consultant based in the United Kingdom, and evaluated by Shopify, which works with millions of businesses in more than 175 countries.

“Shopify powers millions of businesses around the world, making us one of the few organizations with the dataset to build a comprehensive index on global entrepreneurship,” the company’s Vice President of Communications and Public Affairs Erin Pelton said in a statement. “With the Shopify Entrepreneurship Index, we’re aiming to share rich insights each quarter to more clearly demonstrate where entrepreneurship is thriving, define barriers, highlight success stories that can serve as a model for others, and work with policymakers to level the playing field for entrepreneurs.” 

For Shader, Delaware has been supportive not only through the Project Pop Up Program and other free business resources offered such as social media training, but also because of tax incentives and the small-town feel. Since opening in 2010, F+L Boutique has moved to a larger spot and has considered adding new storefronts. But, Shader said, Delaware would have been the only choice to expand had she gone that route.

“You’re able to have a lot of networking opportunities that you otherwise wouldn’t with other business owners, local politicians, town officials,” she said. “That sense of community is the best way to articulate that. You really don’t get that in any other state.”

Shopify’s Pelton said Delaware has created an example for other states to follow.

“By providing favorable tax policies, a skilled workforce, and proximity to major metropolitan areas, Delaware has become a hub for entrepreneurship and innovation,” she continued. “The state’s success serves as a shining example of what can be achieved when the right conditions are in place for entrepreneurs to thrive.”

The United States ranked as the top country in the Shopify index, ahead of Lithuania in second and Romania in third. Delaware bested Wyoming in second place and California in third. According to the index, from 2021 to 2022, Delaware saw a 20.8% increase in total jobs, a 20.5% increase in GDP impact and 20.8% growth in business activity. 

To learn more about the index, go to news.shopify.com/index-beta

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