If you’re a woman, New York City is the best place in the world to start a business.
That’s what Dell — in collaboration with the research company IHS and with participation from the Technology and Entrepreneurship Center at Harvard — found out when it commissioned research on the best cities for female entrepreneurs to start and scale a high-growth business.
In fact, the United States had four cities in the world’s top 25: New York (No. 1), San Francisco Bay Area (No. 2), Washington, D.C. (No. 7), Seattle (No. 10) and Austin (No. 12). Rounding out the top 10 were London (No. 3), Stockholm (No. 4), Singapore (No. 5), Toronto (No. 6), Sydney (No. 8) and Paris (No. 9).
In conjunction with the 2016 Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES), Dell released the results of its in-depth research analyzing communities around the world based on factors most conducive for high potential women entrepreneurs (HPWE). The 2016 GES is the seventh worldwide convocation on entrepreneurship, this year being held in the heart of Silicon Valley at Stanford University, June 22-24. President Barack Obama will address the Summit on Friday.
In launching the Dell Women Entrepreneur Cities Index (WE Cities), Dell is attempting to measure a city’s ability to attract and support high-potential women entrepreneurs, defined by Dell as those with the capability to grow businesses generating $1 million or more in annual revenue.
“Innovation and job creation by women entrepreneurs is critical for a thriving global economy, yet our research shows some cities and countries are doing far more than others to encourage and support this important subset of the startup community,” said Karen Quintos, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer at Dell.
The study looked at 50 cities around the world which already have a vibrant entrepreneurial community. There may be other cities, even smaller cities, of course, where a woman entrepreneur can launch and scale a huge business, so don’t be discouraged if your city isn’t on the list.
According to the report’s findings, while the US has the nuts-and-bolts foundation to grow signficant woman-owned businesses, it lags in helping encourage and enable women entrepreneurs when compared to other global cities in the survey. According to the study’s conclusions: “While US cities are generally strong in their operating environment, they are relatively weaker in their enabling environment.”
For example, while the San Francisco Bay Area ranks number one for female entrepreneurial talent, it ranks only number six for “enabling environment.” In other words, the Bay Area’s young male techie culture is not as supportive to the many talented female entrepreneurs who reside there as other locations may be. Perhaps it’s time to hop a plane to New York or Stockholm because they’re better at enabling women.
The study evaluated five factors contributing to making an area hospitable to entrepreneurs:
- Access to capital – The frequency and value of funding provided to women-owned businesses as well as the percent of funding going to women entrepreneurs.
- Markets – The size of markets available to women and the cost to reach those markets, and also the amount or lack of market transparency (e.g., ‘old boy’ networks) and policies making it more difficult for women to scale.
- Talent – Both the availability of female talent necessary to start and scale businesses and also the amount of sufficient talent in the labor force in general.
- Technology – Women’s access to global connections through the internet and social channels, the costs of such connectivity and policies that inhibit or encourage women’s access to technology and data.
- Culture – How welcoming is the overall culture to female entrepreneurs, including support from other entrepreneurs and laws that enable or inhibit women to enter and succeed in the workplace.
“A city’s culture, while less tangible, is believed by women entrepreneurs to be a critical enabler for their participation in commerce,” according to Dell’s Quintos. “This category measures the prevalence of relevant mentors, networks, and role models, the attitudes and expectations of women entrepreneurs that help shape their own expectations and the policies that enable women to assume leadership positions and business success.”
Perhaps most importantly – especially if you’re a male reading this – was the correlation the study found between a community’s environment for women entrepreneurs and for economic growth in general. A city’s ability to support high-potential female entrepreneurs was 86% correlated with the likelihood and ability of growing its overall economy. So when high-potential women entrepreneurs prosper, communities prosper.
Copyright, Rhonda Abrams, 2016
This article originally ran in USA Today on June 22, 2016