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This Jan. 22, 2013, file photo shows the Salt Lake Temple, at Temple Square, in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Rick Bowmer/AP)
This Jan. 22, 2013, file photo shows the Salt Lake Temple, at Temple Square, in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Rick Bowmer/AP)

SMALL BUSINESS BRIEFING

The most small-business friendly places in the U.S. Add to ...

The latest news and information for entrepreneurs from across the web universe, brought to you by the Report on Small Business team. Follow us on Twitter @GlobeSmallBiz .

Utah (you read right) ranks as best state, Austin, Tex., as best city: survey

Who’da thunk it? Utah and Alabama are among the most small business-friendly states in the United States, while California and Hawaii are among the least, according to a new survey.

The survey, carried out by Thumbtack.com and the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, found that New Hampshire, Idaho and Texas completed the five friendliest states, while Maine, Rhode Island and Illinois rounded out the bottom five.

The second anual survey, based on more than 7,700 small business owners, also found that Austin and Houston in Texas and Virginia Beach, Va., were the top cities (Texas had three of the top five cities, while California had three of the bottom five (Los Angeles, San Diego and Sacramento).

Among the criteria measured were overall small business friendliness; ease of starting a small business; hiring a new employee; regulatory friendliness; health and safety regulations; employment, labour and hiring regulations; tax codes; licensing regulations; environmental regulations; zoning regulations; and training and networking programs.

Here’s Inc.’s take.

From swabs to love letters: Things you never thought mattered on the road to success

Tablets, laptops, smartphones: Sure, these are all things you’d expect people to carry on the road with them for business. But, as LinkedIn recently discovered, some of those who’ve scored success tote “secret weapons they can’t work without” that would not likely show up on an expected list.

“Things I carry” from more than 50 notables include some, well, weird things, as this Entrepreneur.com piece points out.

Among them: Anything orange for Likeable Media CEO Dave Kerpen, from shoes to a backpack, business cards to a pen. “Yes, it’s true: My name is Dave and I’m addicted to the color orange,” he says.

Others focus on health: Deepak Chopra, for instance, wears a biosensor on his wrist that monitors health signs such as heart rate, skin temperature and movement, while Reputation.com founder and CEO Michael Fertik puts on a weight vest. Meanwhile, Jennifer Dulski, president of Change.org carts along a mouth swab and Peppers & Rogers Group founder Don Peppers totes love letters from his wife, one for each night he will be away.

This Huffington Post piece also highlights some of the selections.

Ketchup? Mustard? No need to choose

Ketchup? Mustard? Why not both, already mixed together? That’s the new condiment concocted by a University of Georgia student turned young entrepreneur, reports this piece.

Student Ray Joyner has been blending mustard and ketchup on his food since elementary school, and now hopes to save others from having to go through the trouble of mixing by coming up with a new product called Lazy Ray’s.

Mr. Joyner contacted a company that makes sauces that has gotten involved; he is now hoping for a spot on reality show Shark Tank, the piece reports.

The newly concoted condiment is now available in a few stores in Georgia and North and South Carolina, it reports. Next up: a ketchup and mayonnaise mix.

KEY EVENTS AND DATES

Big Data Week

April 22 to April 28 will mark Big Data Week, with events taking place in more than 18 cities , including Toronto. The week examines and connects all aspects of big data, bringing together a host of players globally. Viafoura Inc. is behind events taking place in Toronto.

Toronto Forum on Entrepreneurship and Innovation

Ryerson University’s Ted Rogers School of Management will host an event looking at how entrepreneurship can help build communities, the city of Toronto and its international competitiveness. The Toronto Forum on Entepreneurship and Innovation will be held on May 7 featuring speakers, panel discussions. For more information and registration, click here.

What would you do with $100,000?

The Globe and Mail and Telus Corp. have teamed up for the third annual Small Business Challenge contest, with a $100,000 business grant up for grabs. Businesses that want to apply need to describe the biggest challenge they are now facing, and how such a sum would help them overcome it. The contest, running until May 27, is open to small businesses across the country, except in Quebec, with fewer than 150 employees. For more information and to enter, click here.

EDITOR’S PICKS FROM REPORT ON SMALL BUSINESS

A ‘fine line to walk’ when working with self-employed agents

This week’s Challenge: Safebridge Financial Group’s co-founder worries about how to put consistent rules and procedures in place without alienating the self-employed mortgage agents the brokerage deals with

FROM THE ROSB ARCHIVES

Cupcake truck serves Hamiltonians curbside

In this video that ran in September, 2011, Natalie Rovoi, co-founder of Cupcake Diner, explained how she got her start, why she can't live without social media and why she loves doing business in Hamilton.

Got a tip on news, events or other timely information related to the small-business community? E-mail us at smallbusiness@globeandmail.com Join The Globe’s Small Business LinkedIn group to network with other entrepreneurs and to discuss topical issues: http://linkd.in/jWWdzT Our free weekly newsletter is now available. Every Friday a team of editors selects the top picks from our blog posts, features, multimedia and columnists, and delivers them to your inbox. If you have registered for The Globe’s website, you can sign up here .

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