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 […]

BY Paul Southerland

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:

stats

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.

metrics

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.

Maine
New Jersey
North Dakota
Kansas
Nebraska
Iowa
Massachusetts
Wisconsin
New Hampshire
Vermont
Maine

10. Maine

GoodCall score: 33.75

Population: 1,330,089

Average SAT score: 1387

High school graduation rate: 87%

College enrollment (18-24): 46.30%

High school dropout rate: 3.80%

Guidance counselors per 1,000: 1.42

AP schools per 1,000: 0.103

New Jersey

9. New Jersey

GoodCall score: 34.15

Population: 8,938,175

Average SAT score: 1526

High school graduation rate: 87%

College enrollment (18-24): 46.50%

High school dropout rate: 4.00%

Guidance counselors per 1,000: 1.35

AP course availability: 0.056

North Dakota

8. North Dakota

GoodCall score: 35.15

Population: 739,482

Average SAT score: 1816

High school graduation rate: 91%

College enrollment (18-24): 46.50%%

High school dropout rate: 6.80%

Guidance counselors per 1,000: 1.27

AP course availability: 0.038

Kansas

7. Kansas

GoodCall score: 36.50

Population: 2,904,021

Average SAT score: 1753

High school graduation rate: 89%

College enrollment (18-24): 46.40%

High school dropout rate: 4.40%

Guidance counselors per 1,000: 1.54

AP course availability: 0.041

Nebraska

6. Nebraska

GoodCall score: 36.55

Population: 1,881,503

Average SAT score: 1745

High school graduation rate: 93%

College enrollment (18-24): 48.30%

High school dropout rate: 4.30%

Guidance counselors per 1,000: 1.30

AP course availability: 0.040

Iowa

5. Iowa

GoodCall score: 37.25

Population: 3,107,126

Average SAT score: 1794

High school graduation rate: 89%

College enrollment (18-24): 45.40%

High school dropout rate: 4.60%

Guidance counselors per 1,000: 0.83

AP course availability: 0.069

Massachusetts

4. Massachusetts

GoodCall score: 38.60

Population: 6,745,408

Average SAT score: 1556

High school graduation rate: 86%

College enrollment (18-24): 53.50%

High school dropout rate: 3.80%

Guidance counselors per 1,000: 1.41

AP course availability: 0.064

Wisconsin

3. Wisconsin

GoodCall score: 40.40

Population: 5,757,564

Average SAT score: 1782

High school graduation rate: 92%

College enrollment (18-24): 45.10%

High school dropout rate: 4.80%

Guidance counselors per 1,000: 1.35

AP course availability: 0.079

New Hampshire

2. New Hampshire

GoodCall score: 41.45

Population: 1,326,813

Average SAT score: 1566

High school graduation rate: 87%

College enrollment (18-24): 49.10%

High school dropout rate: 2.90%

Guidance counselors per 1,000: 1.92

AP course availability: 0.074

Vermont

1. Vermont

GoodCall score: 44.70

Population: 626,562

Average SAT score: 1554

High school graduation rate: 93%

College enrollment (18-24): 50.70%

High school dropout rate: 3.20%

Guidance counselors per 1,000: 2.79

AP course availability: 0.109

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%

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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.

rze
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.