You’ll Never Guess the Best State for Women-Owned Business

A blog about business and economics.
Aug. 22 2014 10:22 AM

You’ll Never Guess the Best State for Women-Owned Business

Sunflowers.
Time to take the next flight out to the Peace Garden State.

Photo by Karen Bleier/AFP/Getty Images

This article originally appeared in Inc.

The areas where women entrepreneurs are lacking get a lot of attention—in the tech industry, say—but perhaps we should spend a little more time celebrating the many and growing spaces where female business owners are doing really well.

Advertisement

Based on the fourth annual OPEN State of Women-Owned Business Report, these are numerous and sometimes stereotype-shattering. The comprehensive look at the state of female-owned firms delves into the rate of business formation by women (an impressive 1,200 new businesses or so a day), the demographics of female business owners (happily, increasingly diverse), and the economic impact of women-owned firms. And it zooms in on geographic trends. If you want to know what areas of the country are home to the most women business owners and where those businesses are truly thriving, this report is for you.

As you'd expect, the most populous states, like California, have the most female-owned businesses in a straight head count, but things got more interesting when the researchers looked not just at the quantity of firms but where women-owned companies are contributing the most to the economy. The report calls this metric "growth in economic clout" and reached a number for each state by "averaging together the rankings of growth in the number, revenues, and employment of women-owned firms."

So where are women-owned firms an increasingly large share of the business landscape? Not California or any other recognized entrepreneurial hot spot—not by a long shot. Here are the top 10:

  • North Dakota
  • District of Columbia
  • Nevada
  • Arizona
  • Georgia
  • Wyoming
  • Virginia
  • Maryland
  • Texas (tied for ninth place)
  • Utah (tied for ninth place)

Where are women-owned businesses the least dynamic? New England and parts of the Midwest, I'm looking at you. "At the other end of the spectrum, the states in which the combined growth in the number, revenues, and employment of women-owned firms lag the national average to the greatest extent are Iowa, Vermont, Rhode Island, Ohio, and Maine," the report reads.

But the dominance of western states in the ranking isn't the only mildly surprising but cheerful news on the expanding territory being conquered by women-owned businesses. The ladies are also breaking into new areas vis-à-vis sector as well as geographic location.

"Women-owned firms are starting and growing businesses in all industries, diversifying into sectors previously described as 'non-traditional' for women. Over the past 14 years there has been an evening-out in the concentration of women-owned firms, meaning that an increasing number of women-owned firms can be found in all industries," concludes the report.

Jessica Stillman is a freelance writer based in London.

TODAY IN SLATE

Jurisprudence

Don’t Expect Adrian Peterson to Go to Prison

In much of America, beating your children is perfectly legal. 

Ken Burns on Why Teddy Roosevelt Would Never Get Elected in 2014

Cops Briefly Detain Django Unchained Actress Because They Thought She Was a Prostitute

Minimalist Cocktail Posters Make Mixing Drinks a Cinch

How the Apple Watch Will Annoy Us

A glowing screen attached to someone else’s wrist is shinier than all but the blingiest of jewels.

Books

Rainbow Parties and Sex Bracelets

Where teenage sex rumors come from—and why they’re bad for parents and kids.

Books

You Had to Be There

What we can learn from things that used to be funny.

Legendary Critic Greil Marcus Measures and Maps Rock History Through 10 Unlikely Songs

Catfish Creator Nev Schulman’s Book Is Just Like Him: Self-Deluded and Completely Infectious

Behold
Sept. 12 2014 5:54 PM An Up-Close Look at the U.S.–Mexico Border
  News & Politics
Jurisprudence
Sept. 14 2014 2:37 PM When Abuse Is Not Abuse Don’t expect Adrian Peterson to go to prison. In much of America, beating your kids is perfectly legal. 
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 12 2014 5:54 PM Olive Garden Has Been Committing a Culinary Crime Against Humanity
  Life
Inside Higher Ed
Sept. 13 2014 8:38 AM “You’re More Than Just a Number” Goucher College goes transcript-free in admissions.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 12 2014 4:05 PM Life as an NFL Wife: “He's the Star. Keep Him Happy.”
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Sept. 12 2014 5:55 PM “Do You Know What Porn Is?” Conversations with Dahlia Lithwick’s 11-year-old son.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 14 2014 7:10 PM Watch Michael Winslow Perform Every Part of “Whole Lotta Love” With Just His Voice
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 12 2014 3:53 PM We Need to Pass Legislation on Artificial Intelligence Early and Often
  Health & Science
New Scientist
Sept. 14 2014 8:38 AM Scientific Misconduct Should Be a Crime It’s as bad as fraud or theft, only potentially more dangerous.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 12 2014 4:36 PM “There’s No Tolerance for That” Pete Carroll and Jim Harbaugh say they don’t abide domestic abuse. So why do the Seahawks and 49ers have a combined six players accused of violence against women?