Experts estimate there are 9.1 million women-owned businesses in the United States. And according to the Womenable report commissioned by American Express “OPEN State of Women-Owned Businesses, there are 2.9 million firms owned by women of color, with an estimated 1,237,900 owned by African-American women in 2014. So if you ever wondered where the best cities are for women owned businesses, the Nerdwallet compiled a list of 289 of the “Best Places for Women-Owned Business.”
To conduct this survey, NerdWallet analyzed 289 metropolitan areas in the U.S. with 10,000 or more businesses that range in size from sole proprietorships to larger businesses and companies. The following data was also taken into account:
- Success of women owned business – the percentage of businesses owned by women, percentage of those businesses with paid employees and the average revenue of businesses owned by women in each place.
- Business climate – the number of businesses per 100 people and the percentage of women with a bachelor’s degree or higher, t
- The area’s economy – the unemployment rate for each place, the median income for women, balanced by median monthly housing costs to reflect the cost of living in each place.
Here are five of the cities that topped the list:
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Noted for its high percentage of businesses owned by women and its affordable cost of living New Mexico’s capital city tops the list. While the city’s tourism industry attracts at least 1 million visitors each year who come to enjoy the culture and breathtaking views of the southern Rocky Mountains, over 80% of the city’s restaurants are locally owned. The City is also home to Wildflower International, an information technology provider to the federal government that says it is the largest woman-owned business in the state.
Beyond its endless landscapes and breathtaking mountain scenery, Boulder, Colorado, offers a high quality of life for entrepreneurs. With a 3% unemployment rate, the city’s economy supports a rich ecosystem of companies specializing in aerospace, biosciences, data storage, natural products, outdoor recreation, renewable energy, software and tourism. And the city’s micro loan program lends up to $50,000 to businesses with annual revenue of less than $2 million.
[Related: Entrepreneurs Summit: 5 Resources for Business Owners in Atlanta]
The city attracts manufacturers; retail traders and companies in other industries that benefit from the city’s strategically located port. With the average business owned by a woman in Monroe averaging $601,565 in revenue annually, the city’s historic downtown is home to locally owned restaurants, coffee shops, bars and retailers.
Businesses are attracted to this city because of its proximity to interstate highways, railroad networks, port cities and two international airports. Its location makes it ideal for businesses engaged in manufacturing and trade. The average business owned by a woman in Racine produces $586,241 in revenue a year, significantly more than most places on our list.
Ocean City, New Jersey
A well known seaside destination along the New Jersey shore, Ocean City is home to several business owned by women including, Crazy Susan’s Cookies, a sweets shop featured on the “Rachael Ray Show,” and Yoga Ginger, a yoga studio in downtown Ocean City. Its economy is tied to tourism and entrepreneurship opportunities in the recreation, hospitality, food and retail industries. And more than 25% of women-owned businesses in Ocean City have paid employees.
Read more about the 289 metro areas evaluated by NerdWallet…