2015’s Best Cities for Women Entrepreneurs

[Please visit the 2016 Best Places for Women Entrepreneurs for the latest rankings]
With the growth of women-owned businesses on the rise throughout the country, it’s never been a better time to be a woman entrepreneur. That’s why we put together these rankings for 2015’s Best U.S. Cities for Women Entrepreneurs. In this report, we aggregated government data to better understand which U.S. cities provide the best backdrop for women entrepreneurs to launch a business – and which do not. The cities that rank highest in this report are places where women entrepreneurs have a better chance of finding a healthy economy and stable job market, as well as support from the local community and other like-minded businesswomen.

Whether opening up a brick and mortar shop or launching an online venture, women entrepreneurs can refer to these rankings to make educated decisions and grow their businesses. Because, despite the recent growth of women-owned businesses, as Logan Cohen, co-founder of Kudzoo, Inc., says:

In the S&P 1500, there are more CEOs named John than there are women. This needs to change.

And, according to a 2015 report by Womenable, commissioned by American Express OPEN, women-owned businesses represent nearly a third of all firms, but just a fraction of the overall workforce and revenues:

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Women in many different industries are trying to change this – female entrepreneurship is growing faster than ever. And there are areas of the country where women-owned businesses are standing out and performing better than others. We analyzed 405 U.S. cities across the country, to show which areas provide the best support for female entrepreneurs and which cities provide the worst. Surprisingly, small to mid-sized cities dominated the top of the list – great news for women entrepreneurs who don’t care for the big city lifestyle. In addition, cities in Georgia, California and Maryland took 7 of the top 10 spots.

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In the process, we also talked to entrepreneurs and national experts on women in business, who offered their best advice for aspiring entrepreneurs looking to launch their own businesses.

Voices for Women Business Owners: Experts Weigh In

Scroll through the images below to read first-hand advice from national business experts across the country.

Erin Andrew
Amanda Brown
Lisa Maatz
Erica Nicole
Julie Weeks
Angela Lee
Jennifer Lee Magas
Dr. Ronald Mitchell
Eve Mayer
Pauline Assenza
Meghan Ely
Dana Humphrey
Carlota Zimmerman
Tracey Noonan
Liz Kelly
Rania Anderson
Erin Andrew

Erin Andrew

Asssistant Administrator for the Office of Women's Business Ownership, U.S. Small Business Administration

What is the best piece of advice you can offer to aspiring female entrepreneurs starting out in their own business?

Starting a business is both exciting and challenging at the same time. We know that women entrepreneurs face challenges when first launching a business, but we also know that it can be done, and done very successfully. To improve the odds for business success, a woman entrepreneur must think beyond a “really good idea” and flesh out the vision for her enterprise.

There are several key pieces of advice I would offer for aspiring female entrepreneurs. They include:

Having a written business plan. Think of a business plan as a roadmap whose goal is to identify the route you will take to meet your financial and growth objectives. SBA’s Women’s Business Centers can help review your plan. DreamBuilder (http://www.dreambuilder.org/sba/) is an online curriculum focused on helping women entrepreneurs build a business plan.

Knowing your competition. A market analysis will identify your target market, its size and other distinguishing characteristics, as well as your strengths and weaknesses. The SBA website has a great tool to help identify your target market at www.sba.gov/tools/sizeup. Once you have that information, you can include it in your business plan.

Marketing your business effectively. Marketing is the process of creating sales, and it’s different for every business. Develop an overall marketing strategy which includes how you’ll communicate with your various audiences.

Having an exit strategy. Most business owners have no plan to handle the unexpected such as financial hardship or a disability, nor do they have a plan for succession or transferring ownership.

We also know that entrepreneurs who get good counseling and training stay in business longer, generate more revenue, and hire more employees. The SBA has an extensive support network leveraged through our resource partners and available to small businesses nationwide. The network includes more than 900 Small Business Development Centers, over 100 Women’s Business Centers, and more than 300 chapters of SCORE volunteers who provide training and counseling to entrepreneurs.

Amanda Brown

Amanda Brown

Executive Director of the National Women's Business Council

What do you see as the biggest issues facing female entrepreneurs and women in business today? Do you think conditions are significantly better than they were, say, 10 years ago?

Women are the fastest growing segment of entrepreneurship, starting businesses at record rates – 1,200 new businesses a day! That exponential growth is a reason for celebration; it’s great progress. But the numbers confirm that women still lag behind men in terms of access to essential business assets, and the greatest barrier continues to be access to capital. Just imagine if women could raise the six figure investments that their male counterparts are raising from VC. That’s where work needs to be done. We know women are capable of starting and growing businesses – creating innovative products, jobs, revenue, and community impact. It’s time to level the playing field so even more women have the opportunity to do so.

Lisa Maatz

Lisa Maatz

Vice President of Government Relations at the American Association of University Women

What can women do to in their own careers to advocate for equal pay?

Developing negotiation skills can help workers to be paid fairly. Because most employers have some latitude when it comes to salaries, negotiating can pay off. But negotiation skills are especially tricky for women because some behaviors, like self-promotion, that work for men may backfire on women. Knowing what your skills are worth, making clear what you bring to the table, emphasizing common goals, and maintaining a positive attitude are some negotiation tactics that have been shown to be effective for women. It’s important to remember that women can’t negotiate their way around discrimination. Yes, if women negotiate their pay they can improve their earnings, but it’s not a comprehensive solution. To truly close the gender pay gap, we need stronger state and federal laws, better enforcement of those laws, and much more transparency in how wages are set and shared. AAUW offers $tart $mart and Work $mart salary negotiation workshops to train women how to negotiate, as well as advocacy opportunities to improve equal pay laws. Join our Action Network at http://www.aauw.org/what-we-do/public-policy/two-minute-activist/.

Erica Nicole

Erica Nicole

Founder and CEO, YFS Magazine, Named 1 of 15 Female Entrepreneurs to watch in 2015 by Entrepreneur

Female entrepreneurs face unique challenges in the business world. What is the best piece of advice you can give to female business owners who are just starting out?

If you are a female entrepreneur, just starting out, get relentlessly focused on why your company exists, double down on your strengths (i.e. core competencies) and outsource non-strategic tasks as quickly as possible so you can quickly start working “on” your business instead of working “in” it. Develop a system and process for each area of your business to ensure you’re operationally sound. Most, importantly, seek to validate your idea early through “paying customers” and take a “test and launch” approach to operational efforts to minimize inefficiencies and make your dollars work smarter.

Julie Weeks

Julie Weeks

President and CEO, Womenable

Women entrepreneurs face unique challenges when it comes to launching their own business. What is your best piece of advice for women entrepreneurs just starting out?

All entrepreneurs - male and female - face challenges when starting and growing their businesses. For women, though, many of the hills they must climb are steeper than the slopes that men face, while other barriers are unique to women. For example, many women have less robust professional networks, which can make it more difficult to launch their business. Personal networks may also be less entrepreneurial, therefore not affording early advice that can help a business get off on the right foot. Access to capital can also be more difficult for women if they have a shallower/shorter credit history.

Women are unique compared to men in that many have to prove themselves, have to fight against stereotypes that result in others taking them less seriously. We also tread a finer line of demeanor - we are assumed to be less comfortable with risk (not true!), yet if we act boldly or decisively our behavior is perceived as (to put it politely) un-ladylike.

Ultimately, though, the trends we are seeing are leading to a breaking down of many of these barriers, thus forging an easier path for other women to follow. My advice to women just starting out on their entrepreneurial journey? 1) No one else will be as passionate about your business as you are, so don't listen to the naysayers; 2) Persevere - it will be harder than you think, but don't let setbacks deter you from your ultimate goal; and 3) Fail forward: No one succeeds without making adjustments, so learn from what doesn't work and keep putting one foot in front of the other.

Angela Lee

Angela Lee

Assistant Dean at Columbia Business School and Founder of 37 Angels

Do women have the same access to startup funding as men do? How has that changed in recent years?

It depends on what you mean by access. On the one hand, everyone has access to all of the same angels and VCs. That being said, it's still very much a referral-based business. Of the 33 companies that 37 Angels has invested in, 27 of them were referred in from someone we knew. So for female founders, this means that they really need to ask for those introductions. Look up the people you want introductions to on Linked In, find out who you have in common, and don't be afraid to ask. Go a step further - write the introduction you want the person to write on your behalf, make it really easy for people to help you.

Jennifer Lee Magas

Jennifer Lee Magas

VP of Magas Media Consultants LLC and Professor of English at Fairfield University

What advice do you have for women aspiring to be entrepreneurs?

Be confident, use your support system, and expand your network.

Be confident: Lack of confidence is one particular characteristic that every woman struggles with. This internal turmoil is shown externally and can greatly affect a professional woman. Be confident in your skills and abilities as a professional - it will exhibit self-reliance and demand others' respect.

Use your support system: Having support from family and friends is a subtle but important aspect to success. The people that make up your support group make you who you are. and they will ​continue to help you achieve your overall goals.

Expand your network: Every day, try and make as many genuine connections as possible with a variety of people in and outside of your professional world. One connection and relationship can be the game-changer for​ your career.

Dr. Ronald Mitchell

Dr. Ronald Mitchell

Professor of Entrepreneurship- Texas Tech University- Rawls College of Business

What advice do you have for women aspiring to be entrepreneurs?

Play to your strengths and avoid cognitive danger zones.

Entrepreneurial cognition research now shows how new venture formation is associated with a person’s cognitive expertise: that entrepreneurs think differently than other people, and in some ways, female entrepreneurs think differently than male entrepreneurs. (We now know that entrepreneurs don’t fit past stereotypes, such as being 'born risk-takers,' having a high 'need for achievement,' or being the products of an 'enterprising childhood.')

Research measures can also distinguish expert women entrepreneurs from novice entrepreneurs by their willingness to venture. (Expert male entrepreneurs have been distinguished from novice entrepreneurs more on the basis of competitiveness.)

Both male and female entrepreneurs need 'arrangements': e.g., capital, contacts, technology. So the likely 'danger zones' for female students who want to become entrepreneurs are in not starting ventures when they have arrangements available. (The danger zone is in making errors of 'omission, versus the male danger zone, errors of 'commission.) It would appear that the danger for female potential entrepreneurs may be not to start at all, whereas the danger for male potential entrepreneurs may be to start, but to make errors in the process.

So, identify your strengths overall, and venture!

Eve Mayer

Eve Mayer

CEO of Social Media Delivered, Named as 7th Most Influential Woman in Social Media by Forbes

What advice do you have for women aspiring to be entrepreneurs?

Go and work for three to five years for other people. Take the experience from your terrible bosses and make a list of the things you never want to repeat or do. Find mentors and great bosses and make a list of the things you always want to do. Use these two lists to create your own company, working after hours on the side until you have enough money and business to go out on your own. Stop putting others first! Put yourself first and go for it.

Dr. Pauline Assenza

Dr. Pauline Assenza

Associate Professor, Management/Small Business Entrepreneurship- Ancell School of Business Western Connecticut State University

What advice do you have for women aspiring to be entrepreneurs?

You ask what advice I might give to female students who are interested in pursuing careers in business? My advice is not gender specific. Everyone is different, but we all need to find something we’re good at, that we’re also passionate about. Especially if we’re starting a business on our own, most people, either men or women, have some fear about taking this risk. Women, I’ve found, are perhaps more willing to do this as long as they have three things: self-awareness – you have to know who you are and that you’re really good at something, passion – a burning desire to take this knowledge and do something important with it, and networking skills – finding mentors or other people who can introduce you to other people with like-minded passion and skill sets that complement your own. Women are good at self-awareness, which is the first step. Do an internal inventory, be willing to ask for help, and then be prepared to fail, but fail quick and fail small so you can learn and then try again. Old phrase, but it’s all a journey. Why not start now?

Meghan Ely

Meghan Ely

Adjunct Professor at Virginia Commonwealth University in the Robertson School of Media and Culture and Principal of OFD Consulting

What advice do you have for women aspiring to be entrepreneurs?

I know all too well the sense of urgency that takes over when you have the desire to open your own company. Unfortunately, I see far too many people jump in feet first without much real world experience. I caution my students to work for someone else. Work for good bosses. Take notes. Work for bad bosses. Take even more notes. See what makes people successful. Learn from other's mistakes. Learn to take direction well. Let your ego be kicked around a bit. Save up. Who knows - you may even get a mentor out of it. It's not to say that you can't leave school and successfully start a business, but your chances are far better if you join the workforce first. I'm a better consultant advising wedding pros because I planned weddings for six years first. It gives me a competitive advantage and will help create one for you.

Dana Humphrey

Dana Humphrey

Lead Publicist & Owner at Whitegate PR and Adjunct Professor at Fashion Institute of Technology

What advice do you have for women aspiring to be entrepreneurs?

Learn to say NO. The best advice I ever received as a female entrepreneur and business owner is the power of no. Just as when you go to a bar and get asked for your phone number, you don't give it to everyone who asks....The same is true for taking on new clients, you have to vet them and make sure it's a good fit.

Carlota Zimmerman

Carlota Zimmerman

Entrepreneur and writer for Huffington Post

What advice do you have for women aspiring to be entrepreneurs?

Believe in your idea, believe in yourself. I started a coaching business in 2008, as a history major (Wellesley College) and a former TV journalist, with six figures of law school debt, and exactly zero business experience. Yet I was obsessed with the idea of what my coaching business could be. I was coaching myself as much as clients. I was obsessed, and when I made mistakes, I understood that mistakes are part of life, not a judgment call. Even in 2015, women are still made to feel guilty about committing to their ambition, about loving something larger than themselves that’s not fashion or a baby or a new lipstick. But if you want to change the world, you have to change your world, and to do that you have to believe in the validity, the necessity of your world - your ideas, yourself. My small business allowed me to make a comeback in my life: I started with only debt and dreams, and today, I’ve coached Obama White House staffers, I have clients from Queens, NY to Queensland, I write for Huffington Post and Thought Catalog, have spoken at BlogHer2015, Social Media Week NYC, and will speak at the 2015 Pennsylvania Conference for Women. My small business saved my life... what will your small business do?

Tracey Noonan

Tracey Noonan

Co-Founder and CEO Wicked Good Cupcakes, Featured on ABC's Shark Tank

What advice do you have for women aspiring to be entrepreneurs?

1. Are you passionate about what you do? You have to LOVE your business/product like you would love your own child. Because, quite honestly, that’s what it is. Your business/product/service is your new baby, and it’s going to demand a whole lot of time, energy and money from you. Buckle up!

2. Can you be the best in the world in what you do? This is a tough question to answer, honestly. I always say go with your gut. If you have an inkling of doubt, drop the idea and move on. You simply must be the best.

And lastly. . .

3. Can you make money with this business/product/service? It’s super cool to tell everyone you have your own company, but at the end of the day, it has to earn you a living - otherwise, it’s nothing more than a glorified hobby.

Liz Kelly

Liz Kelly

Founder, Goody PR and UCLA Extension Instructor

What advice do you have for women aspiring to be entrepreneurs?

My best advice for female college students thinking about starting a business is to define the big picture first with a 10-slide pitch deck versus writing a business plan. You can create this pitch deck based on Guy Kawasaki¹s book, 'The Art of the Start.' This deck template helped me build a solid foundation for Goody PR and Goody Awards, and I now require my UCLA Extension New Media Marketing students to use this format for their final marketing plan presentation. Once you have your 10-slide deck, you should then set up coffee meetings with 20 CEOs (startups is fine) and ask for their opinion. It will be amazing what results you can get from a 10-slide deck. With a clear focus and confidence, it is so much easier to start a company versus wasting hours on a detailed business plan. Yes, you will need the details later, but start with the pitch deck. And just start!

Rania Anderson

Rania Anderson

Entrepreneur and Author

What advice do you have for women aspiring to be entrepreneurs?

What made you successful at school is not what will make you successful as an entrepreneur.

In college, you succeed by following the rules, raising your hand, speaking when called upon, keeping your head down, working hard, fitting in and above all else not failing. School does not require a lot of risk taking.

As an entrepreneur, you succeed by breaking the rules, having ideas, speaking up with your ideas whether you are asked to provide them or not, standing out, making lots of mistakes, failing, then learning and pivoting. Taking risk is what entrepreneurs do.

The difference between an entrepreneur and a small business owner is that an entrepreneur has a business idea that creates a need or solves a need, whereas a business owner runs a business. To be a successful entrepreneur you have to deeply understand a potential market or a pain point and come up with a commercially viable way to solve it.

Above all: test your ideas and assumptions to see if there is actually a paying market and demand for what you have in mind.

The Best Places for Women Entrepreneurs

10. Monterey, CA

GoodCall score: 318.80
Networking rank: 34
Female educational attainment: 22.90%
Difference in educational attainment: 8.50%
Change in GDP: 2.00%
Unemployment rate: 7.70%
% of Women-owned establishments: 32.48%

9. Peachtree City, GA

GoodCall score: 320.25
Networking rank: 168
Female educational attainment: 17.90%
Difference in educational attainment: 12.70%
Change in GDP: 2.00%
Unemployment rate: 7.30%
% of Women-owned establishments: 31.86%

8. Novato, CA

GoodCall score: 322.25
Networking rank: 202
Female educational attainment: 28.70%
Difference in educational attainment: 19.90%
Change in GDP: 2.00%
Unemployment rate: 7.00%
% of Women-owned establishments: 31.48%

7. Rockville, MD

GoodCall score: 322.26
Networking rank: 24
Female educational attainment: 34.90%
Difference in educational attainment: 11.80%
Change in GDP: -0.80%
Unemployment rate: 5.30%
% of Women-owned establishments: 33.16%

6. Houston, TX

GoodCall score: 325.45
Networking rank: 195
Female educational attainment: 61.50%
Difference in educational attainment: 19.20%
Change in GDP: 5.20%
Unemployment rate: 5.30%
% of Women-owned establishments: 29.21%

5. Annapolis, MD

GoodCall score: 329.10
Networking rank: 15
Female educational attainment: 33.30%
Difference in educational attainment: 9.10%
Change in GDP: 0.90%
Unemployment rate: 4.80%
% of Women-owned establishments: 32.29%

4. Walnut Creek, CA

GoodCall score: 330.05
Networking rank: 56
Female educational attainment: 45.10%
Difference in educational attainment: 10.70%
Change in GDP: 2.00%
Unemployment rate: 6.50%
% of Women-owned establishments: 31.48%

3. Baton Rouge, LA

GoodCall score: 330.35
Networking rank: 87
Female educational attainment: 31.70%
Difference in educational attainment: 15.00%
Change in GDP: 6.50%
Unemployment rate: 3.60%
% of Women-owned establishments: 28.53%

2. Dublin, OH

GoodCall score: 335.00
Networking rank: 54
Female educational attainment: 22.50%
Difference in educational attainment: 7.70%
Change in GDP: 3.30%
Unemployment rate: 5.20%
% of Women-owned establishments: 30.75%

1. Alpharetta, GA

GoodCall score: 352.75
Networking rank: 11
Female educational attainment: 33.80%
Difference in educational attainment: 30.00%
Change in GDP: 2.00%
Unemployment rate: 6.60%
% of Women-owned establishments: 31.86%

Source: GoodCall

The Data

Rank City GoodCall Score Population Networking Rank Female Educational Attainment Difference in Educational Attainment – Men vs. Women Change in GDP, YoY Unemployment Rate % of Women-Owned Establishments
1 Alpharetta, GA 352.75 63,038 11 33.80% 30.00% 2.00% 6.60% 31.86%
2 Dublin, OH 335.00 44,214 54 22.50% 7.70% 3.30% 5.20% 30.75%
3 Baton Rouge, LA 330.35 228,895 87 31.70% 15.00% 6.50% 3.60% 28.53%
4 Walnut Creek, CA 330.05 67,673 56 45.10% 10.70% 2.00% 6.50% 31.48%
5 Annapolis, MD 329.10 38,856 15 33.30% 9.10% 0.90% 4.80% 32.29%
6 Houston, TX 325.45 2,239,558 195 61.50% 19.20% 5.20% 5.30% 29.21%
7 Rockville, MD 322.26 65,937 24 34.90% 11.80% -0.80% 5.30% 33.16%
8 Novato, CA 322.25 55,005 202 28.70% 19.90% 2.00% 7.00% 31.48%
9 Peachtree City, GA 320.25 35,063 168 17.90% 12.70% 2.00% 7.30% 31.86%
10 Monterey, CA 318.80 28,276 34 22.90% 8.50% 2.00% 7.70% 32.48%
11 Northbrook, IL 317.80 33,655 23 31.40% 11.70% 1.30% 6.00% 30.98%
12 Monroe, LA 316.15 49,601 64 17.10% 12.10% 1.70% 5.50% 30.16%
13 Alexandria, VA 315.25 150,575 71 49.10% 9.40% -0.80% 4.10% 33.16%
14 Delaware, OH 315.20 37,372 280 12.10% 7.50% 3.30% 4.50% 30.75%
15 Libertyville, IL 313.80 20,512 30 32.00% 18.20% 1.30% 7.20% 30.98%
16 Chico, CA 311.00 89,180 180 21.80% 15.40% 4.00% 9.50% 30.95%
17 Santa Cruz, CA 308.45 63,364 112 15.60% 5.80% 4.50% 9.00% 34.16%
18 Buffalo Grove, IL 307.70 41,701 164 41.40% 19.70% 1.30% 6.50% 30.98%
19 Miami, FL 305.85 430,332 7 45.40% 8.20% 2.40% 5.00% 29.02%
20 New Lenox, IL 305.80 25,426 177 23.80% 16.90% 1.30% 6.40% 30.98%
21 Lake Oswego, OR 304.60 37,999 58 22.30% 10.90% 2.70% 8.80% 30.56%
22 West Linn, OR 304.50 26,289 196 29.10% 24.30% 2.70% 8.70% 30.56%
23 Rochester, NY 303.55 209,983 49 14.70% 7.80% 1.10% 4.10% 30.51%
23 Fort Collins, CO 303.55 156,480 140 19.80% 13.00% 2.90% 7.80% 29.72%
25 Grapevine, TX 301.35 50,844 151 28.90% 22.10% 2.10% 5.20% 28.76%
26 White Plains, NY 299.95 58,035 38 33.20% 21.60% 1.00% 6.10% 29.61%
27 Olympia, WA 297.25 49,218 17 13.50% 6.70% 2.80% 7.40% 29.78%
28 Palo Alto, CA 293.95 66,955 52 51.00% 4.90% 4.40% 6.10% 29.75%
29 Cheyenne, WY 292.25 62,845 101 11.70% 5.00% 2.70% 4.10% 29.79%
30 Edmond, OK 290.90 88,605 80 17.30% 9.70% 3.90% 3.20% 27.05%
31 South Elgin, IL 288.60 22,226 262 14.40% 11.30% 1.30% 6.10% 30.98%
32 Charlottesville, VA 288.05 45,593 19 28.90% 22.50% -0.70% 4.50% 28.73%
33 Oklahoma City, OK 287.90 620,602 179 37.60% 27.80% 3.90% 5.60% 27.05%
34 Dover, NH 286.95 30,665 234 27.20% 12.60% 1.60% 6.60% 30.19%
35 Orlando, FL 284.35 262,372 15 56.90% 21.90% 1.90% 9.90% 29.41%
36 Oswego, IL 283.10 33,099 262 23.80% 11.60% 1.30% 6.70% 30.98%
37 Bismarck, ND 281.40 68,896 108 17.90% 10.90% 6.90% 1.90% 24.18%
38 Lawrence, KS 280.70 92,763 254 32.10% 7.10% 0.40% 4.90% 31.20%
39 Austin, TX 279.95 912,791 161 46.30% 13.70% 2.20% 6.30% 28.42%
40 Glenview, IL 279.80 46,767 106 22.20% 7.40% 1.30% 7.20% 30.98%
41 Yukon, OK 279.40 25,349 86 16.10% 7.80% 3.90% 4.80% 27.05%
42 Melrose, MA 279.15 27,969 331 36.40% 13.10% 1.60% 6.40% 30.19%
43 Broomfield, CO 277.75 62,138 93 22.30% 5.00% 4.30% 7.10% 29.65%
44 San Mateo, CA 277.65 102,893 114 14.20% 8.70% 2.00% 11.20% 31.48%
45 Fort Lauderdale, FL 277.35 176,013 3 14.50% 6.50% 2.40% 7.10% 29.02%
46 Prattville, AL 277.15 35,317 275 18.80% 13.80% 0.30% 6.40% 30.72%
47 Tampa, FL 276.55 358,699 23 19.00% 6.00% 2.30% 6.40% 28.90%
48 Las Vegas, NV 275.85 613,599 56 17.00% 8.60% 2.40% 8.70% 29.27%
49 Duluth, GA 275.65 28,838 3 11.50% 5.40% 2.00% 10.80% 31.86%
50 Bowie, MD 273.35 57,646 241 17.30% 11.30% -0.80% 7.80% 33.16%
51 Roseville, CA 272.95 128,615 185 14.10% 9.60% 2.70% 10.90% 30.71%
52 Fairfax, VA 272.45 24,483 2 17.50% 4.40% -0.80% 6.30% 33.16%
53 Glen Ellyn, IL 272.40 27,763 115 23.30% 10.10% 1.30% 9.10% 30.98%
54 Bellevue, WA 271.95 136,426 55 39.30% 5.90% 2.40% 6.90% 29.10%
55 Scottsdale, AZ 270.00 230,512 42 25.20% 15.50% 1.20% 5.50% 27.33%
56 Rocklin, CA 268.75 60,344 249 15.30% 12.10% 2.70% 11.50% 30.71%
57 Chino, CA 268.70 84,723 205 14.90% 9.40% 2.80% 11.00% 30.57%
58 Crystal Lake, IL 268.00 40,493 73 15.00% 6.10% 1.30% 8.00% 30.98%
58 Park Ridge, IL 268.00 37,856 119 22.10% 4.70% 1.30% 5.50% 30.98%
60 Schertz, TX 267.05 36,896 282 18.30% 15.20% 2.80% 6.60% 28.15%
61 San Luis Obispo, CA 266.65 46,730 47 17.00% 10.00% 3.80% 8.50% 27.69%
62 Draper, UT 266.40 46,202 147 15.70% 10.50% 2.50% 4.60% 25.98%
63 Plantation, FL 265.35 91,457 342 24.70% 16.80% 2.40% 7.40% 29.02%
64 Algonquin, IL 264.90 30,410 194 17.60% 11.90% 1.30% 9.70% 30.98%
65 Jackson, MS 264.85 171,155 233 55.60% 44.30% 0.40% 5.50% 28.46%
66 Boulder, CO 263.95 105,112 29 16.80% 4.30% 3.20% 8.70% 30.17%
67 Auburn, AL 263.15 60,258 277 22.60% 10.20% 3.40% 6.30% 28.25%
68 Pasadena, TX 263.05 153,887 320 12.40% 6.60% 5.20% 6.90% 29.21%
69 Laurel, MD 261.95 26,160 17 17.60% 3.70% -0.80% 6.70% 33.16%
70 Hillsboro, OR 261.80 99,393 239 12.30% 8.90% 2.70% 10.60% 30.56%
71 Hurst, TX 261.05 38,733 152 8.10% 5.70% 2.10% 4.80% 28.76%
72 Huntington, WV 260.40 48,807 107 21.00% 11.80% 4.20% 6.70% 24.92%
73 Gurnee, IL 258.70 31,207 88 18.90% 6.70% 1.30% 9.30% 30.98%
74 Fresno, CA 258.35 515,986 254 14.00% 9.40% 3.40% 9.50% 29.35%
75 Waxahachie, TX 257.35 32,344 193 9.00% 7.40% 2.10% 6.40% 28.76%
76 Blue Springs, MO 256.30 53,573 243 24.30% 14.40% 1.40% 5.80% 28.38%
77 Lafayette, CA 256.15 25,473 97 23.30% 1.10% 2.00% 6.20% 31.48%
78 Cartersville, GA 256.15 20,015 19 4.20% 5.00% 2.00% 12.70% 31.86%
79 Oregon City, OR 255.90 35,266 114 9.30% 5.70% 2.70% 10.80% 30.56%
80 Napa, CA 255.35 80,011 139 7.00% 2.60% 4.50% 9.40% 31.13%
81 South Jordan, UT 255.10 62,781 260 15.90% 14.80% 2.50% 5.50% 25.98%
82 Springville, UT 255.05 31,464 287 14.10% 12.00% 6.40% 5.00% 24.13%
83 Oviedo, FL 254.85 38,020 82 17.60% 8.60% 1.90% 9.80% 29.41%
84 Chesapeake, VA 254.55 233,371 236 16.60% 5.60% 0.20% 6.70% 31.59%
85 Fremont, CA 254.45 228,758 236 16.70% 5.10% 2.00% 8.60% 31.48%
86 Loveland, CO 252.65 72,651 126 7.40% 4.60% 2.90% 8.20% 29.72%
87 Elmhurst, IL 252.40 45,751 103 19.10% 4.90% 1.30% 7.70% 30.98%
88 Fort Worth, TX 252.25 812,238 258 21.40% 6.90% 2.10% 5.50% 28.76%
89 Englewood, NJ 252.15 27,670 90 15.10% 6.30% 1.00% 6.70% 29.61%
90 Durham, NC 251.20 251,893 212 26.90% 14.10% 0.30% 13.20% 33.80%
91 Casper, WY 250.95 60,086 81 7.90% 5.90% 7.10% 5.40% 23.99%
92 Franklin, TN 249.00 70,612 59 23.40% 10.60% 1.90% 6.20% 25.39%
93 Bowling Green, KY 248.45 62,479 80 16.40% 11.80% 3.20% 6.90% 21.99%
94 Bountiful, UT 247.80 43,385 182 11.80% 6.30% 4.50% 5.50% 26.07%
95 Lawrenceville, GA 246.35 30,212 3 7.60% 4.10% 2.00% 13.20% 31.86%
96 San Rafael, CA 246.25 59,237 44 9.80% 2.00% 2.00% 8.80% 31.48%
97 Billings, MT 245.25 108,869 65 8.50% 6.80% 7.10% 7.50% 25.02%
98 Beverly, MA 243.15 40,952 166 19.20% 5.10% 1.60% 7.50% 30.19%
99 Tacoma, WA 243.15 205,159 106 21.50% 14.90% 2.40% 15.50% 29.10%
100 Aiken, SC 243.00 30,258 51 8.20% 6.60% -1.20% 11.70% 32.72%

A total of 405 cities were evaluated. To view the full set of rankings, click here.

2015’s Women Entrepreneurs to Learn From

GoodCall interviewed up-and-coming women entrepreneurs who have made their own way – in industries from PR to real estate to technology and beyond – to get their best advice for future entrepreneurs. We asked them:

 

What advice do you have for women aspiring to be entrepreneurs?

 

Click on the images below to see their answers.

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Kelly Hager
Logan Cohen
Paige Arnoff-Fenn
Haley Gray
Paige Hunter
Try to forget that you are a female entrepreneur,
Teresa Dentino
Rachel Fuller
Tina Nelson
Lindsay Satmary
Alison Podworski
Bianca Lee
Hanh Nguyen
Jenn DeWall
Roshawnna Novellus
Nellie Akalp
Louise Hendon
Jilea Hemmings
Michelle Warner
Pamela Hanson (1)
Lourdes Ramon
Tiffany Mason
Melissa Davis
Julie Austin
Tosin Williams
Shilonda Downing
If you can create something and sell it,
Jenny Powers
Sarah Dunn
Jennifer Vickery
Lori Cheek
Lisa Baker-King
Andrea Berkman-Donlon
Sofia Pessanha
Joye Sistrunk
Abbi Yeboah
Melanie Ocana
Arar Han
Jane Sunley

Methodology

To evaluate the best places for women entrepreneurs in 2015, we used the following metrics to evaluate more than 400 cities:

  • Difference in educational attainment: This metric represents the percentage of women versus the percentage of men who have achieved a bachelor’s degree or higher. This data comes from the U.S. Census Bureau’s ACS Survey and represents 30% of our overall score.
  • Percentage of women-owned businesses: This metric, which uses MSA-level data, comes from the U.S. Census Bureau and represents 25% of our score.
  • Unemployment rate: The unemployment rate for each city comes from the U.S. Census Bureau’s most recent data, and represents 20% of our overall score.
  • Change in GDP, year over year: The change in gross domestic product, year over year, comes from BEA.gov and represents 15% of our overall score.
  • Networking rank: This metric represents the number of small businesses per capita in each city, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. This represents 10% of our overall score.

Paul Southerland

Email | Twitter | LinkedIn

Paul is a High Point University graduate with a B.S. in Business and a B.A. in Strategic Communication. GoodCall's resident numbers guy, Paul is a digital marketing expert who has been working in data analysis for more than 3 years. Paul contributes to GoodCall News with original data and reports.

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Comments(59)

  1. Mary Gregory says

    I reviewed the list of 405 cities you evaluated, and it appears to be a list of small to medium sized cities with a few larger cities thrown in. Only 4 cities with population over a million (Houston, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Phoenix) were evaluated. No Baltimore, New York, LA, or Dallas for example. Why is this?

    • Abby Perkins says

      Hi Mary – thanks for your comment! We did not place any population limits on the cities we evaluated – it just happened that some larger cities did not rank as highly under our chosen criteria (networking rank, difference in educational attainment – men vs. women – percent change in GDP, unemployment rate, and percent of women-owned establishments). Please let us know if you have any other questions!

  2. Mary Gregory says

    I reviewed the list of 405 cities you evaluated, and it appears to be a list of small to medium sized cities with a few larger cities thrown in. Only 4 cities with population over a million (Houston, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Phoenix) were evaluated. No Baltimore, New York, LA, or Dallas for example. Why is this?

    • Abby Perkins says

      Hi Mary – thanks for your comment! We did not place any population limits on the cities we evaluated – it just happened that some larger cities did not rank as highly under our chosen criteria (networking rank, difference in educational attainment – men vs. women – percent change in GDP, unemployment rate, and percent of women-owned establishments). Please let us know if you have any other questions!

  3. Gail Bulfin says

    I am curious about the South Florida statistics. Broward County is home to 31 municipalities with a population of about 1.8 m. We are in fact often referred to as Greater Fort Lauderdale since the lines blur so naturally. As a county, our unemployment for instance, has led the state, currently at 5.1%. Two cities were cited, Fort Lauderdale and Plantation. The business community for our county is concentrated in Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood, Coral Springs, Miramar, Pembroke Pines, among others. Which other cities were considered but didn’t make the cut? And when did you take the unemployment figures? Really enjoy these data projects so thank you very much.

    • Abby Perkins says

      Hi Gail – thanks for your comment! We only evaluated cities for which we had universal metrics (i.e., every metric that we included in our rankings), so not every city made the cut. In response to your second question, unemployment data is from 2013 – the most recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau!

  4. Gail Bulfin says

    I am curious about the South Florida statistics. Broward County is home to 31 municipalities with a population of about 1.8 m. We are in fact often referred to as Greater Fort Lauderdale since the lines blur so naturally. As a county, our unemployment for instance, has led the state, currently at 5.1%. Two cities were cited, Fort Lauderdale and Plantation. The business community for our county is concentrated in Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood, Coral Springs, Miramar, Pembroke Pines, among others. Which other cities were considered but didn’t make the cut? And when did you take the unemployment figures? Really enjoy these data projects so thank you very much.

    • Abby Perkins says

      Hi Gail – thanks for your comment! We only evaluated cities for which we had universal metrics (i.e., every metric that we included in our rankings), so not every city made the cut. In response to your second question, unemployment data is from 2013 – the most recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau!

  5. Kristin Slice says

    We have been searching for data on women business owners specific to the Phoenix Metro area. When I clicked on the full list it says the link is broken. We are working on a collaborative initiative between women business owner groups, government agencies and women business owners. Our goal is to create a data sheet on the impact of women business owners in Arizona. Any data you can provide us would be extremely helpful. We have reached out to several of the regular agencies, the only data they can provide us are aggregates without gender or general ranking.

    • Abby Perkins says

      Hi Kristin, thanks for your message! The link to the full data set should work now – in case it doesn’t, here is the link to the page: http://www.goodcall.com/data-center/1022-2/. Phoenix is listed at #357! Please feel free to reach out if you have any other questions.

  6. Kristin Slice says

    We have been searching for data on women business owners specific to the Phoenix Metro area. When I clicked on the full list it says the link is broken. We are working on a collaborative initiative between women business owner groups, government agencies and women business owners. Our goal is to create a data sheet on the impact of women business owners in Arizona. Any data you can provide us would be extremely helpful. We have reached out to several of the regular agencies, the only data they can provide us are aggregates without gender or general ranking.

    • Abby Perkins says

      Hi Kristin, thanks for your message! The link to the full data set should work now – in case it doesn’t, here is the link to the page: http://www.goodcall.com/data-center/1022-2/. Phoenix is listed at #357! Please feel free to reach out if you have any other questions.

  7. William Hill says

    Good post, thanks for sharing!

  8. William Hill says

    Good post, thanks for sharing!

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