The “Me Too” movement, which followed promptly upon the heels of the heinous and far-reaching misconduct allegations against Harvey Weinstein, has gained global traction. The gender wage gap — although not a new issue — also recently became a more prominent and mainstream concern. Furthermore, women are demanding more opportunities to secure leadership and executive positions in companies. A lot is changing, and there are a lot of moving parts. But some cities are putting those parts together more quickly, and to greater effect for women, than others. The following three cities are places where female entrepreneurs are thriving.
In the business world, women have traditionally been in the minority, if they are present at all. But that has been changing dramatically in recent years. And Washington, D.C., is proof of that. In Washington, D.C., the percentage of female-owned businesses is 40 percent, a full four percentage points higher than the national average. What’s more, of the 692 women-led companies in the Inc. 5000 (a list of the fastest-growing private companies in the country), the Washington, D.C., metro area was home to 74 of them.
Tons of government positions
The environment for women to enter government has never been more positive and welcoming. And given that Washington, D.C., is the seat of our national government, it is a rational entry point. This is likely owing to various certifications for small businesses, women-owned businesses, and historically disadvantaged, or so-called 8(a), businesses.
Networking and tech potential
The housing bust of 2008 didn’t quite eviscerate Washington as it did many other cities in the nation. This also has had a positive impact on entrepreneurship there in general. And, not just for women. Due to the transient nature of the D.C. inhabitants (they move in and out all the time), the city has a booming buying, selling, and remodeling market. D.C. also is brimming with networking groups for female entrepreneurs. There is something called Fed Talk, an annual conference for the tech and government IT communities. It is an excellent opportunity to meet and network with people in these types of companies including their founders. Women entrepreneurs in the tech world can also look to groups such as the Lean Startup meetup, Fosterly, Her Corner and Sterling Women.
New York City
This should come as no surprise. Hey, I don’t know, maybe it is a surprise. But, as both the largest and wealthiest city in the nation, New York City is a smart bet for women entrepreneurs or aspiring entrepreneurs. In 2012, women entrepreneurs in New York received more than 140 loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration. These loans totaled $42,281,500 and exceeded the amount given in every other state in the country. Although a business loan is only a first step toward success, there is overwhelming entrepreneurial opportunity in NYC.
New York is the city that never sleeps for a reason! Too much innovating to be done.
Tennessee, in general, is sort of killing it in the entrepreneurial world, and that includes the musical city of Nashville. With less competition than New York or California, they do not lack the entrepreneurial spirit. It is also easier to get attention in Nashville. Did I mention that there was no income tax? There’s also no state income tax.
Nashville Mayor Megan Barry’s office has partnered with iFundWomen, which was launched in late 2016 by a former Google exec, to roll out a regional crowdfunding platform supporting women’s projects and creative ideas. The platform is now accepting applications.
Nashville is not just work, work, work all the time, either. It’s a fun place to live. It has great outdoor activities including cycling, climbing and rafting. Nashville has a great music scene. And you need to play as hard as you work! It’s been proven.
The three aforementioned cities would be an excellent choice for any entrepreneurial venture, however, when it comes to female entrepreneurial success, these cities are really rocking it. The times really are changing, and Nashville, Washington D.C. and New York City are all determined to change with the times.
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