The Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED) is pleased to announce that the state of Utah has been named an “Innovation Champion” by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA). The CEA noted in its announcement the inaugural “Innovation Scorecard,” a first-of-its-kind innovation performance index based on 10 criteria.

“Our strong spirit of innovation is a driving force of our successful economy,” said Gov. Gary R. Herbert. “This award confirms the great state of Utah is indeed an innovative leader.”

The scorecard evaluated all 50 states and Washington, D.C., according to the conduciveness of their legal, regulatory and overall business environment to encourage innovation during the preceding year. The states were categorized into four tiers based on their score. The inaugural Innovation Champions—the highest scoring states—are Utah, Delaware, Indiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, North Carolina, South Dakota, Texas and Virginia, as well as the District of Columbia.

“I want to congratulate our 10 Innovation Champions – nine states and D.C. – whose proactive support for innovation enables startups and established businesses in these states to thrive,” said Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of CEA. “The future of growth and economic prosperity of this country is most vibrant in places where policies and political climates serve to unleash the entrepreneurial spirit and can-do attitude that is part of our American DNA. Our hope is that states will use our scorecard as a measurable guidepost to improve their policies supporting innovation.”

GOED Executive Director Val Hale received the award on behalf of the state at the award ceremony held at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C.

“The state of Utah owes its economic success to a longstanding spirit of innovation,” Hale said. “Gov. Herbert maintains a constant philosophy of collaboration and efficiency to create an ideal business environment. Businesses, people and ideas come to Utah because it’s the place to grow.”

The Innovation Scorecard assesses the progress of state policies intended to advance innovation and improve business climates, while also tracking states’ responsiveness to disruptive innovation.

The Innovation Champion award comes in the same week that online HR firm Zenefits credited Utah for its rapid response in updating the state’s regulatory environment to accommodate new and disruptive technologies moving into the online marketplace.

Using established economic, educational and legislative data, the report issues grades across 10 categories. The categories are designed to be adaptive to each state’s unique environments. According to the report, Utah offers a ready-made environment for innovators and entrepreneurs. When the state must choose between the status quo and innovation, Utah nearly always follows the path of innovation. The beehive state is a right-to-work state with tax-friendly policies, more successful business startups per capita than the national median, an educated workforce, fast Internet access and strong venture capital.

Utah was graded as follows:

  • Right to Work: A+
  • Tax Friendliness: B+
  • Entrepreneurial Activity: B
  • Fast Internet: A-
  • Tech Workforce: B
  • Attracts Investment: B+
  • Grants STEM Degrees: B+
  • Innovation Momentum: B+
  • Innovation-Friendly Sustainable Policies: A-

The Innovation Scorecard will be annually updated to reflect states’ evolving policies and any changes in measuring innovation. The complete scorecard, featuring category rankings, state-by-state profiles and an explanation of CEA’s methodology, can be found at CE.org/scorecard.