No. 3: Colorado
Solution Provider 500 Companies: 15
Colorado has quite a bit going for it, coming out No. 3 overall thanks to its highly educated, experienced workforce (36.7 percent of its adult population has a bachelor degree or higher) and its high scores for innovation and growth (the state is ranked No. 3 for entrepreneurial activity).
The state is far from the cheapest place to do business, however. Colorado is rated No. 36 for overall labor/business costs. Its ranking for overall taxes and regulation is a middle-of-the-road No. 24. And, the state ranks No. 19 for overall business opportunity.
Colorado has excellent scores for overall quality of life/low cost of living -- the state's 2.9 percent sales tax is the lowest among all 45 states that levy such a tax.