Even if you’re on your own, being an entrepreneur takes a village. And that village needs the right resources, tools, and opportunities to foster a healthy, lucrative environment for you to work your magic. Armed with data and insight from Lendio, Fundera, and Dell‘s Women Entrepreneur Cities Index, which measures each city’s ability to attract and support high-potential women entrepreneurs, we gathered a non-hierarchical list of some of the best U.S. cities for female entrepreneurs.
We chose the cities based on five pillars.
- Markets: Do they operate evenly and fairly?
- Talent: Can startups find the knowledge and expertise they need?
- Capital: Is there equal access to funding and resources?
- Culture: Does the business climate welcome women entrepreneurs?
- Technology: Will local technology support new businesses and discoveries?
Abuzz with colleges and universities, Boston is a veritable breeding ground for ideas, ventures, and startups—due in part to city-wide programs like Women Entrepreneurs Boston (WE BOS). Ranking #9 in markets and #5 in capital on Dell’s list is impressive enough, but Boston is also #1 in talent. Boston entrepreneurs have access to plenty of qualified partners and employees, but that means plenty of competition as well.
Los Angeles, California
Ranking 4th in capital, the City of Angels lives up to its name. It’s a little behind San Francisco in the funding department, but it may be catching up. After all, coming in 3rd in the talent department means companies have a large pool to draw from. LA’s paid maternal and family leave legislation makes it a friendly environment for families, too. Their culture finishes at a cool 6th.
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New York, New York
NYC is a powerhouse. It’s number one in markets, two in capital, 4th in tech, and 7th in talent. It’s also 1st in culture. With those numbers, it’s clear New York City beckons to women entrepreneurs and puts their money where their mouth is. The Mayor’s office for Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises is a large and meaningful organization, fostering growth, mentoring, and support for women entrepreneurs.
San Francisco, California
Its proximity to Silicon Valley and all those venture capitalists doesn’t hurt San Francisco’s entrepreneurial sector. With capital and tech coming in first, and markets and culture in second, San Francisco has a reputation as a great place to raise funds, launch a startup, and find talented folks to work with. The City by the Bay also boasts a woman mayor, London Breed, the first African American woman to hold that office. Fun fact: She’s also the highest paid mayor in the US.
Seattle’s mayor, Jenny Durkan, recently released an action plan to increase internet access and close the digital divide which should make for a richer and more diverse talent pool. The city scored in the top ten in markets, capital, and culture. Their tech and talent numbers are both near the top and moving up. With young people flocking to Seattle, startups have a bumper crop of prospects.
The seat of U.S. government attracts talent from all over, ranking 4th in the index. Markets and tech are 6th and 11th. The air is fine for women entrepreneurs too with culture and capital both in the top 20. Muriel Bowser, the second-term mayor of Washington, D.C., is revitalizing the DC business climate, spending $200 million on local businesses.
Obviously, your entrepreneurial success depends on more than location. The industry, and proximity to others in that industry matters as does your product, work ethic, team, company alignment, and timing. Moving to one of these cities (or one of these cities) does not guarantee your company immediate or long-lasting success. Any one of them might, however, prove to be a healthy, creative, and fertile place for you to put down your startup roots.