Best & Worst Cities for Women-Owned Businesses: 2016

Entrepreneurship was once an opportunity accessible only to men. With the exception of a few brave women who defied the odds, most females historically failed to break through the barriers of the male-dominated business space. However, it is the 21st century, and it is becoming an era in which women are a powerful force in society, especially in our economy.

It is not only common for women to be entrepreneurs today, but it also means they are becoming part of an influential group. According to an American Express OPEN-commissioned report, more than 9.4 million women-owned businesses currently operate in the U.S. Combined, those firms account for nearly a third of all privately held companies, pull in annual revenues to the tune of $1.5 trillion and provide jobs to roughly eight million workers.

Women-owned businesses are among the fastest-growing enterprises in the nation, increasing at a rate 1.5 times the U.S. average and topping “the growth rates of all but the largest, publicly-traded firms” in the past 18 years.

If you are inspired to become the next Madam C.J. Walker or Jessica Alba, two women known for their epic entrepreneurial achievements, you might want to consider where to begin your future endeavor. Location plays a key role in the success of any business; particularly, a woman-owned business. It’s true that some areas are better than others at encouraging female entrepreneurship and recognizing its value.

To determine where best to begin your entrepreneurial endeavor, WalletHub’s analysts compared the 100 largest metropolitan statistical areas, (MSAs), across 10 key metrics indicating friendliness toward this group. Their data set ranges from average revenue growth of women-owned businesses to presence of women’s business centers to industry variety for women-owned firms.

Overall Rank MSA Total Score ‘Overall New-Business Friendliness’ Rank ‘Female Entrepreneurship’ Rank ‘Business Climate for Women’ Rank

1 Nashville-Davidson-
-Murfreesboro–Franklin, 70.04 13 20 18

2 Chattanooga, TN-GA 69.79 2 50 18

3 Columbus, OH 68.13 7 23 27

4 Memphis, TN-MS-AR 66.99 4 66 18

5 Milwaukee-Waukesha-
West Allis, WI 66.44 30 48 2

6 Rochester, NY 64.89 18 77 5

7 Kansas City, MO-KS 64.82 22 14 25

8 Spokane-Spokane Valley, WA 64.60 25 55 11

9 Greensboro-High Point, NC 64.57 6 56 40

10 Honolulu, HI 63.88 43 3 17

11 Oklahoma City, OK 63.17 14 5 86

12 Indianapolis-Carmel-Anderson,IN 63.08 24 6 55

13 Buffalo-Cheektowaga-Niagara Falls, NY 62.90 42 35 5

14 St. Louis, MO-IL 61.95 31 19 25

15 Knoxville, TN 61.26 21 75 18

16 Grand Rapids-Wyoming, MI 61.22 11 41 76

17 Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI 61.16 57 25 1

18 Madison, WI 60.77 48 54 2

19 Omaha-Council Bluffs, NE-IA 60.67 19 88 16

20 New Haven-Milford, CT 60.57 N/A 33 22

21 San Antonio-New Braunfels, TX 60.35 40 1 89

22 Tulsa, OK 60.27 1 65 86

23 Salt Lake City, UT 60.18 27 11 69

24 Winston-Salem, NC 59.92 12 76 40

25 Virginia Beach-Norfolk-
Newport News,VA-NC
59.82 37 10 38

26 Augusta-Richmond County, GA-SC 59.67 5 73 72

27 Louisville/Jefferson County, KY-IN 59.47 17 28 88

28 Syracuse, NY 59.19 N/A 67 5

29 Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI 59.11 54 26 10

30 Fresno, CA 59.05 29 21 59

31 Wichita, KS 58.84 10 81 44

32 Albuquerque, NM 58.61 47 4 34

33 Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT 58.17 N/A 46 22

34 Stockton-Lodi, CA 58.04 23 47 59

35 New Orleans-Metairie, LA 57.72 8 37 96

36 Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX 57.30 26 12 89

37 Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford,CT 56.26 N/A 57 22

38 Colorado Springs, CO 55.71 33 62 35

39 Jackson, MS 55.62 3 98 75

40 Richmond, VA 55.54 32 64 38

41 Toledo, OH 55.18 16 97 27

42 Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, MD 54.68 60 51 4

43 Tucson, AZ 54.52 44 30 57

44 Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA 54.49 46 8 72

45 Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, FL 54.28 N/A 32 46

46 Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MI 54.22 36 39 76

47 Jacksonville, FL 54.15 39 53 46

48 Cincinnati, OH-KY-IN 54.05 28 85 27

49 Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, NC-SC 53.34 41 58 40

50 Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FL 53.33 51 22 46

51 Des Moines-West Des Moines, IA 53.10 34 69 45

52 Worcester, MA-CT 52.98 59 52 13

53 El Paso, TC 52.75 15 79 89

54 Birmingham-Hoover, AL 52.58 9 82 95

55 Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL 52.48 50 40 46

56 Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA 51.83 72 24 11

57 Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO 51.59 61 9 35

58 Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach,FL 51.35 N/A 45 46

59 Albany-Schenectady-Troy, NY 50.92 N/A 99 5

60 New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA 50.70 74 15 5

61 Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA-NH 50.27 69 42 13

62 Springfield, MA 50.13 N/A 96 13

63 Youngstown-Warren-Boardman, OH-PA 49.27 N/A 70 27

64 Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX 48.74 38 61 89

65 Boise, ID 48.46 45 60 78

66 Cleveland-Elyria, OH 48.15 53 72 27

67 Miami-Fort Lauderdale
-West Palm Beach, FL 48.05 64 13 46

68 Raleigh, NC 47.83 63 31 40

69 Baton Rouge, LA 47.70 20 84 96

70 Bakersfield, CA 47.63 52 59 71

71 Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, NV 47.48 55 29 85
72 Austin-Round Rock, TX 47.07 58 16 89

73 Dayton, OH 46.65 N/A 86 27

74 Akron, OH 46.54 49 93
75 Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario,CA 46.23 68 17 59

76 Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ 46.20 66 27 57

77 McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, TX 46.01 N/A 44 89

78 Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim,CA 45.88 70 7 59

79 Cape Coral-Fort Myers, FL 45.46 55 78 46
80 Sacramento–Roseville
-Arden-Arcade, CA 45.02 62 43 59

81 Little Rock-North Little Rock
-Conway, AR 44.90 35 94 79

82 Washington-Arlington-Alexandria 44.o4 73 2 74
DC-VA-MD-WV

83. Ogden-Clearfield, UT 43.58 N/A 80 69

84. Lakeland-Winter Haven, FL 43.54 N/A 90 46

85 Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton,
PA-NJ 43.15 N/A 68 80

86 Charleston-North Charleston, SC 42.55 N/A 36 98

87 Harrisburg-Carlisle, PA 42.25 N/A 74 80

88 Providence-Warwick, RI-MA 42.17 75 34 37

89 San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward,CA 41.01 77 18 59

90 Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington,
PA-NJ-DE-MD 40.84 64 49 80

91 Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro,OR-WA 40.59 76 38 56

92 San Diego-Carlsbad, CA 39.56 71 63 59

93 Scranton–Wilkes-Barre–Hazleton,PA 39.34 N/A 87 80

94 Provo-Orem, UT 39.23 N/A 95 69

95 North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton, FL 39.10 N/A 100 46

96 Pittsburgh, PA 37.52 67 71 80

97 Columbia, SC 33.05 N/A 83 98

98 Greenville-Anderson-Mauldin, SC 31.78 N/A 91 98

99 Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, CA 31.64 77 92 59

100 San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA 31.26 79 89 59

Source: WalletHub

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