For female business owners, not all cities are created equal.
A study released on Monday by personal finance website WalletHub looked at the 100 biggest metropolitan areas in the U.S. to determine which were the best for female entrepreneurs. Here are the top ten:
- Nashville, Tenn.
- Chattanooga, Tenn.
- Columbus, Ohio
- Memphis, Tenn.
- Milwaukee, Wis.
- Rochester, N.Y.
- Kansas City, Mo.
- Spokane, Wash.
- Greensboro, N.C.
- Honolulu, Hawaii
To determine the rankings, WalletHub looked at three major factors:
- Overall friendliness toward new business: Includes general business conditions like the accessibility of financing, office space availability, and labor costs.
- Female entrepreneurship: Considers how prevalent female entrepreneurship is in the area, and includes measures like the percentage of women-owned businesses, as well as their revenue and growth over the past few years.
- Business climate for women: Looks at gender inequality and conditions for working mothers, such as the size of the gender wage gap and the availability of affordable child care.
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While this is great news for the women of Nashville and Columbus, women-owned businesses are nationally still lagging behind men-owned business in terms of revenue. There were about 9.9 million women-owned businesses in the U.S. as of 2012, according to the National Women's Business Council. But while women owned 36.2% of non-farm and privately owned businesses, they earned only 11.3% of the revenue.
The gap between the revenue of men- and women-owned business is due partly to the difference in industry, though that still doesn't explain the difference in earnings: Women owned 64.5% of health care and social assistance companies in 2012, but received just 19.9% of that industry’s $703.5 billion in revenues, according to Pew Research Center.
Businesses owned by women also tend to be smaller than those owned by men. Among companies with employees, those owned by women employed an average of 8.5 people in 2012, vs. an average of 13.5 people for those owned by men.