A Multiyear, Multi-country Research Initiative

Venture Forward quantifies the impact online microbusinesses have on their local economies.

Our Methodology and Background

In 2018, GoDaddy set out to analyze the economic impact of the 20+ million online microbusinesses our customers have created across the U.S. Our research team, working with economists and data scientists from the University of Iowa, Arizona State University, and UCLA Anderson Forecast, reviewed data from 30K+ zip codes, 3K+ counties and 900+ city region in the United States

We established microbusiness density by measuring the number of GoDaddy-registered domains with active websites in a geographic region (About 75% are commercial ventures and the rest are a combination of nonprofit, cause-oriented and other sites – all which are included in the dataset).

When combined with data from the U.S. Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Economic Innovation Group, and others, this breakdown allowed us to model the effects of online microbusinesses on economic outcomes, like job creation; change in annual household median income; recovery from the 2008 recession, and unemployment at the county, city-region, and zip-code levels. Our regression models controlled for additional variables including broadband access; education levels; age; demographics; population; and occupational data to ensure the effects of microbusinesses were isolated.

In 2019, we began surveying the entrepreneurs who own these ventures in the United States, nationally and across cities, at least once ayear. These surveys help us better understand their mindsets and circumstances.

In 2020, we built a proprietary Microbusiness Activity Index with economists at UCLA Anderson Forecast and created a data hub to update and share our data publicly, including measurements of microbusiness density by geography. We update this data on a quarterly basis.

In 2021, we expanded Venture Forward research to the United Kingdom to highlight the areas seeing the greatest growth of digital entrepreneurship and to learn more about these microbusiness owners. The data is offered at constituency-level.

In 2023, we hit a new milestone when we partnered with UK-based economics consultancy, Frontier Economics, on a landmark study to quantify how microbusiness effect job creation, median annual pay, and even local GDP.

This year, 2024, we’re sharing new data at detailed-levels with monthly breakdowns of microbusinesses growth in Australia and Canada, as well as survey insights on the entrepreneurs who start them. These are available down to statistical areas and provinces, respectively.

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Associated organizations

Arizona State University School of Public Affairs

A leading academic institution with unique strengths in science and technology policy, local government management, environmental policy, and urban policy.

Bureau of Labor Statistics

The U.S. government’s primary agency tracking labor and economic statistics.

Economic Innovation Group

A bipartisan public policy organization that combines innovative research and data-driven advocacy to address America’s most pressing economic challenges.

Milken Institute

An independent economic think tank focused on human, financial and social capital.

Opportunity Insights

A non-partisan, not-for-profit organization at Harvard University that translates insights from rigorous, scientific research to suggest actions for policy change.

UCLA Anderson Forecast

Forecasts and projections about the current state and future outlook of economies in the U.S. and China.

University of Iowa Department of Political Science

A leader in research and policy impacting the state of Iowa, the U.S. government, the governments of myriad foreign countries, and the international system.

U.S. Census Bureau

Part of the U.S. Department of Commerce, responsible for producing data about the American people and economy.

Contact Us

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