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New Study Documents Dramatic Growth Of Women Entrepreneurs In Top 25 Largest U.S. Cities

The rapid growth of women entrepreneurs has been shaking up startup land. We take a look at what's happening and the top cities to do it in.

To commence Women’s History Month, the Center for an Urban Future today published a groundbreaking new study, with support from Capital One’s Future Edge initiative, that reveals a dramatic surge in women entrepreneurs in the nation’s 25 largest cities but also shows that women still face a number of challenges as they start and grow businesses. The report documents that the number of women-owned businesses in the 25 largest American cities increased by 43 percent over the past five years, far outpacing the overall growth in women-owned businesses nationally (27 percent). Indeed, of the 25 most populous cities in the U.S., only one had a slower growth rate in women-owned businesses than the nation.

The report, titled “Breaking Through: Harnessing the Economic Potential of Women Entrepreneurs,” includes fresh data for each of the 25 largest U.S. cities, specifically the number of women-owned businesses, five-year and 10-year growth rates for the number of women-owned businesses, and revenues per women-owned business.

Among the findings from the report:

  • Of the nation’s 25 most populous cities, Memphis had the fastest growth in women-owned businesses between 2007 and 2012, the most recent year for which data from the U.S. Economic Census is available. The number of women-owned businesses in Memphis increased by 116 percent.
  • Fort Worth had the second highest five-year growth rate, with women-owned firms growing by 78 percent, followed by Atlanta (65 percent), Houston (62 percent), and Dallas (58 percent).
  • Of the 25 largest cities, Dallas ranks first in revenues per women-owned businesses, with $198,599 in average sales. San Antonio was second, with $191,223 in average sales, followed Fort Worth($186,435), Houston ($181,122), and San Francisco ($175,766).
  • In terms of the overall numbers of women-owned businesses, New York City tops the list, with 413,899—more than double than the second-ranked city, Los Angeles (192,358). Chicago ranks third with 123,632 women owned firms, followed by Houston with 102,813, and Dallas with 52,798.
  • Over the last decade, from 2002–2012, the number of women-owned businesses in the United Statesincreased by 52 percent. This amounts to 928 new businesses every day, adding over 1,290,245 jobs and $90,191,545 billion in payroll to the nation’s economy.
  • Ninety percent of all women-owned businesses in the U.S. have no paid employees.
  • If only one quarter of the existing 8,842,742 women-owned businesses in the United States with no employees added a single employee in the next three years, it would result in more than 2.2 million new jobs.
  • The cities with the slowest growth in women-owned businesses over the past five years include San Diego (which experienced a 20 percent increase in the number of women-owned businesses), San Francisco (27 percent increase), Boston (31 percent), San Jose (32 percent), and Seattle (32 percent).

More detailed data charts can be viewed below.

Growth Of Women Entrepreneurs

Center for an Urban Future infographic (PRNewsFoto/Center for an Urban Future)
Center for an Urban Future infographic (PRNewsFoto/Center for an Urban Future)
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