Being a woman entrepreneur isn't always the easiest, but the gap between male and female entrepreneurship is steadily closing. Understanding which states are most favorable to women may be helpful for you as you move forward.
The Rise of Women-Owned Businesses
For centuries, men dominated entrepreneurship. In fact, the notion that a woman could own a prosperous business is a relatively new idea in the grand scope of history. But here we stand in 2018, and our society is well on its way to achieving equality in this respect.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau
, nearly 40% of all American businesses are women-owned, and by 2025 this figure will rise to 55%. From 2007 to 2012, the number of women-owned firms rose 26.8% (from 7.8 million to 9.9 million). For perspective, the total number of firms increased just 2 percent over that same period (from 27.1 million to 27.6 million).
"Also on the rise, the increase in receipts for women-owned firms outpaced that of all firms during the period," the Census Bureau explains. "Women-owned firms totaled $1.4 trillion in receipts in 2012, an increase of 18.7% from $1.2 trillion in 2007. Receipts for all firms grew 11.7% during the same period—from $30.0 trillion in 2007 to $33.5 trillion."
We aren't where we'd like to be quite yet, though. The proportion of women-owned businesses still varies dramatically by sector. While women-owned businesses already make up the majority in sectors like health care, social assistance, and educational services, they're lacking in areas like manufacturing, financial services, and technology.
Four States That Are Leading the Way
When it comes to women-owned businesses, location is also an important detail. Some states seem to be more advantageous and opportunistic than others. In particular, four states are leading the way.
No matter which metric you look at or information you choose to scrutinize, Georgia ranks near the top. It's a haven for women entrepreneurs, and the future looks to be even brighter than the present.
If you look at a list of the best and worst cities for women-owned businesses around the entire country, Georgia has a couple in the top five
(Sandy Springs-Roswell and Augusta). And as FitSmallBusiness.com points out
, Georgia leads the entire nation with women-owned firms accounting for 40% of the state's total businesses. In total, there are 54 net new women-owned firms in the state per day.
2. New York
Head up the east coast to New York and you'll eventually get there, which has quickly risen to prominence in terms of being a platform for entrepreneurial diversity (and women-owned businesses, in particular).
"The Empire State is a fantastic place to build the company of your dreams," IncFile.com explains
"A combination of rich cultures, diverse cities, and a very healthy economy makes New York State a center of opportunity. New York State is the fourth most populous state in the union, with very strong industries in the technology, finance, investment, media, entertainment, and tourism sectors. New York State's domestic product in 2015 was $1.44 trillion, which would rank it in the top 15 economies in the world."
According to FitSmallBusiness.com
, there are 57 net new women-owned firms per day in New York. Women-owned businesses also account for 4.81 percent of the total revenues generated by all businesses in the state (which ranks 14 in the country).
Business News Daily calls Virginia a top-five state for women entrepreneurs
—and it would be hard to argue otherwise. It comes in 14 in percent of women-owned businesses with paid employees; eighth in percent of women with bachelor's degrees or higher; and 13 in average revenue of women-owned businesses.
Virginia also benefits from having a strategic location—easily accessible and nestled close to the nation's capital. All of these factors make it an ideal state to launch a new venture or move an existing business.
You can't put out a list of top places for women entrepreneurship and forget The Sunshine State. As FitSmallBusiness.com points out, there are a whopping 119 net new women-owned businesses per day in the state (which comes in second in the entire country). In total, 38.5% of all companies are run by women, while a large percentage of the state's paid employees are signed on with women-owned businesses.
Finding Balance and Equality
For as much discussion as there is about diverse business hiring practices, it's important that we spend just as much energy and effort considering what's happening at the top of the proverbial corporate ladder.
In addition to leveling the playing field between men and women entrepreneurs, it's imperative that we place an emphasis on giving minorities more opportunities to thrive in entrepreneurship and business ownership. And until there's some sense of equality across the board, we shouldn't rest.
Anna is a freelance writer, researcher, and business consultant. She is also a columnist for Entrepreneur.com, Forbes.com, and more. Anna specializes in entrepreneurship, technology, and social media trends. Follow her on Twitter and LinkedIn.