a survey by Thumbtack.com and the Kauffman Foundation say Virginia is the fourth most small-business friendly state in the nation. This was survey of more than 12- thousand entrepreneurs about how the ease of starting and managing a business. WDBJ7's Alison Parker is live in the Center in the Square with some of the key points of the survey. The complexity, time, and cost of getting and keeping licenses was the most important issue that came out of the survey -- even more so than taxes. Virginia was ranked an a+ when it came to the ease of licensing. I'm here with Tom Tanner, with the Small Business Development Center in Roanoke. What is the business licensing process like? Are there any grants or incentives known to help entrepreneurs (like discounts on rent in buildings, Tobacco Commission)? Are there tax breaks for small business owners? More about the survey: Thumbtack, in partnership with the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, has released Virginia's results from the third annual Thumbtack.com Small Business Friendliness Survey. The study, drawing upon data from over 12,000 small business owners, provides new insights into state and local business environments across the nation. "After a two-mont survey of thousands of small business owners nationwide, business owners have reaffirmed that Virginia is a premier destination for starting and running a business," say Jon Lieber, Chief Economist of Thumbtack. "Creating a busines climate that is welcoming to small, dynamic businesses is more important than ever, and Virginia's a+ grade by its small businesses shows what a welcoming and friendly place the Commonwealth is for entrepreneurs." Some of the key findings for Virginia include: Virginia earned a top-five rating for the friendliness of its health and safety, labor, and licensing regulations. African-American small business owners felt significantly more supported by the Virginia state government than others, reporting overall friendliness scores that were 14 percent higher than the overall state friendliness score. Among cities in Virginia, Richmond earned a grade of a and Virginia Beach earned an a- for overall friendliness; Richmond was 3rd in the nation for friendliness of licensing, and Virginia Beach was 4th. Virginia has never earned less than an a for overall friendliness in previous Kauffman/Thumbtack surveys. Virginia's small businesses were the third most optimistic in the nation when it came to plans to hire more employees in the next twelve months. The top rated states overall were Utah, Idaho, Texas, Virginia and Louisiana. The lowest rated were Rhode Island, Illinois, California, Connecticut and New Jersey. Jersey.