Best Places for Women Entrepreneurs, Small-Business Loans, Big Revenues

Small Business, Starting a Business
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Small Business Loans Strong Revenue and the Best Places for Women Entrepreneurs

Here’s some advice for female entrepreneurs looking for the best place to start a business: “Go West, young woman.”

An analysis by NerdWallet focused on factors for small-business success — including financing opportunities, local economic health and business climate — and found that seven of the top 10 places for women business owners are in Colorado and California. The data from the U.S. Census Bureau and the Small Business Administration are for 174 U.S. metro areas.

See our infographic below for more details about women entrepreneurs in the U.S.




Of course, location doesn’t necessarily guarantee success. A thriving small business also requires a skilled workforce and access to financing, both of which are vital to getting started and expanding operations. To learn more about financing, take a look at NerdWallet’s comparison of small-business loans.

Key takeaways

Golden State’s golden opportunities. Four of the top 10 metro areas for women entrepreneurs are in California. All four cities have more women-owned businesses per 100 residents and higher annual incomes for women compared with the national average.

Colorado makes a strong showing. Three of the metro areas are in Colorado, including top-ranked Boulder. All three, including Denver and Fort Collins, have above-average levels of women’s entrepreneurship and small-business loan rates.

Follow the money. Women entrepreneurs in the top 10 cities on average received 24.36 SBA-guaranteed loans per 100,000 residents, which is well above the national average of 14.56.

Best metro areas for women entrepreneurs

1. Boulder, Colorado

Women-owned businesses per 100 residents: 4.42 (rank: No. 1)
SBA-guaranteed loans per 100,000 residents: 41.17 (rank: No. 1)

2. Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, Connecticut

Average SBA-guaranteed loan: $1,654,405 (rank: No. 1)
Median annual income for women: $57,377 (rank: No. 2)

3. Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, Colorado

Women-owned businesses per 100 people: 3.22 (rank: No. 13)
Median annual income of women as a percentage of men’s: 87% (rank: No. 12)

4.  Santa Cruz-Watsonville, California

Women-owned businesses per 100 residents: 3.95 (rank: No. 3)
Average SBA-guaranteed loan: $806,714 (rank: No. 5)

5. Santa Rosa, California

Women-owned businesses per 100 residents: 3.43 (rank: No. 6)
Median annual income of women as a percentage of men: 89% (rank: No. 7)

6. San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles-Arroyo Grande, California

SBA-guaranteed loans per 100,000 residents: 37.26 (rank: No. 2)
Women-owned businesses per 100 residents: 3.16 (rank: No. 18)

7. San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, California

Median annual income for women: $56,381 (rank: No. 4)
Women-owned businesses per 100 residents: 3.41 (rank: No. 8)

8. Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, Minnesota and Wisconsin

Median annual income for women: $46,895 (rank: No. 17)
SBA-guaranteed loans per 100,000 residents: 26.49 (rank: No. 17)

9. Portland-South Portland, Maine

Women-owned businesses per 100 residents: 3.42 (rank: No. 7)
SBA-guaranteed loans per 100,000 residents: 21.58 (rank: No. 31)

10. Fort Collins, Colorado

Women-owned businesses per 100 residents: 3.58 (rank: No. 4)
SBA-guaranteed loans per 100,000 residents: 27.77 (rank: No. 16)

Looking for financing to start or grow your small business? Compare your options for small-business loans here:

Compare business loans

Best metro areas for women entrepreneurs

 

RankMetro areaAverage revenue for women-owned businessesWomen-owned businesses per 100 peopleWomen's median annual incomeMedian annual income of women
as a percentage of men's income
Unemployment rateSBA-guaranteed loans per 100,000 residentsAverage SBA-guaranteed loan
1Boulder, CO$91,0504.42$48,22377%5.9%41.17$217,912
2Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT$153,1613.48$57,37780%7.9%11.74$1,654,405
3Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO$170,0683.22$45,54387%4.7%24.43$255,120
4Santa Cruz-Watsonville, CA$138,6763.95$47,41287%6.4%15.82$806,714
5Santa Rosa, CA$115,1133.43$46,68189%7.0%21.59$445,480
6San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles-Arroyo Grande, CA$109,8533.16$40,69872%5.7%37.26$207,772
7San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA$161,3743.41$56,38183%6.4%15.72$538,106
8Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI$155,9502.82$46,89584%4.8%26.49$274,713
9Portland-South Portland, ME$92,2413.42$40,63580%4.7%21.58$416,118
10Fort Collins, CO$100,1983.58$37,79578%5.6%27.77$204,374
11Lancaster, PA$597,5542.40$36,27273%4.2%12.00$215,430
12North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton, FL$130,5172.99$35,48385%5.6%14.42$477,229
13San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA$212,3502.63$57,45374%6.4%12.90$625,318
14Green Bay, WI$192,6061.80$37,47681%5.1%19.39$278,406
15Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA$169,1032.67$46,99076%5.8%19.86$263,062
16Cedar Rapids, IA$136,1442.38$39,01576%3.3%18.19$505,009
17Lincoln, NE$199,5602.45$34,66780%4.0%24.67$164,860
18Salinas, CA$240,1512.53$36,22888%6.4%9.97$855,151
19Salt Lake City, UT$155,0892.53$35,41471%4.9%32.43$263,212
20Honolulu, HI$146,0242.62$41,16181%5.2%30.55$53,908
21Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA-NH$152,1512.91$51,78478%6.3%28.04$190,942
22Austin-Round Rock, TX$144,2692.84$41,33482%4.7%16.98$420,072
23Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA$194,7093.18$41,12790%8.2%20.14$417,302
24Naples-Immokalee-Marco Island, FL$120,4463.25$36,33484%6.5%13.19$112,809
25Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV$153,3193.31$57,37185%6.4%6.55$572,369
26Reno, NV$195,8012.69$37,76587%7.6%20.47$352,467
27Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, WI$166,6982.10$41,18079%6.4%29.07$231,851
28New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA$156,5513.21$49,23086%7.4%11.88$384,470
29Madison, WI$159,8932.28$42,83883%5.0%23.19$193,592
30Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, FL$114,7074.30$34,25485%8.2%11.94$375,019
31Manchester-Nashua, NH$167,6622.46$42,90370%5.4%21.72$116,031
32Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA$167,3303.33$41,11882%7.9%16.11$487,665
33Columbus, OH$151,5102.66$41,25082%5.6%32.79$209,134
34San Diego-Carlsbad, CA$150,5102.92$45,08684%7.5%18.29$336,528
35Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA$161,7302.80$42,09080%7.2%18.66$261,495
36Colorado Springs, CO$107,4523.15$38,71076%7.1%19.65$174,390
37Wilmington, NC$134,2133.21$37,16083%7.6%9.54$579,308
38Albany-Schenectady-Troy, NY$149,4722.41$45,20085%5.9%15.91$292,938
39Omaha-Council Bluffs, NE-IA$187,8112.22$38,98882%4.7%16.03$147,468
40Boise City, ID$104,2302.53$32,11070%5.2%33.18$180,137
41Salisbury, MD-DE$156,2552.02$37,08181%7.0%6.41$605,968
42Grand Rapids-Wyoming, MI$153,3332.46$37,25378%6.0%36.78$117,889
43Pittsburgh, PA$180,7172.05$40,23178%6.2%14.01$347,971
44Tulsa, OK$193,5132.47$34,69975%5.3%14.63$281,737
45Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FL$182,1163.04$33,92084%8.0%11.16$344,855
46Crestview-Fort Walton Beach-Destin, FL$131,2202.83$32,31879%5.4%16.28$317,590
47Raleigh, NC$153,8722.75$41,88880%5.7%8.69$376,202
48Myrtle Beach-Conway-North Myrtle Beach, SC-NC$142,0892.65$31,35683%7.2%4.79$520,145
49Cape Coral-Fort Myers, FL$117,2672.91$35,02394%7.2%11.33$390,634
50Asheville, NC$112,0493.22$33,35181%5.2%7.46$580,412
51Akron, OH$156,0702.10$35,95671%7.1%30.83$120,070
52Lubbock, TX$128,2372.09$32,67880%4.4%16.38$292,666
53Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX$165,4762.76$41,01883%6.0%16.71$342,934
54Scranton--Wilkes-Barre--Hazleton, PA$218,8621.72$35,63381%6.8%10.72$148,239
55Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX$197,1792.70$40,57580%5.7%14.87$396,006
56Jacksonville, FL$158,7692.50$36,67079%8.4%14.80$295,173
57Charleston-North Charleston, SC$125,6922.66$38,04781%6.5%9.62$451,263
58Cleveland-Elyria, OH$148,1432.26$39,82378%8.4%29.51$120,235
59Kennewick-Richland, WA$130,8841.96$35,90969%5.3%19.69$104,080
60Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, MD$132,9462.88$49,86582%6.8%11.59$296,215
61Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL$151,3452.80$36,58384%7.3%11.73$340,142
62Spokane-Spokane Valley, WA$114,2212.09$36,99378%6.3%20.66$315,584
63Providence-Warwick, RI-MA$136,3522.33$42,04982%7.4%24.92$136,768
64Spartanburg, SC$489,2062.00$31,68277%6.9%4.04$464,423
65Olympia-Tumwater, WA$88,8482.51$45,84782%7.8%13.54$340,472
66Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI$162,6752.85$42,71779%8.4%14.94$355,802
67Lexington-Fayette, KY$151,5662.45$36,21185%6.7%14.37$101,435
68Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD$180,2762.29$46,13382%8.1%12.54$478,240
69Nashville-Davidson--Murfreesboro--Franklin, TN$236,3142.66$37,73682%6.3%8.03$545,723
70Ogden-Clearfield, UT$280,6942.20$35,87967%5.4%22.82$248,897
71Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, CA$178,2742.89$42,27177%8.0%13.71$391,080
72Bremerton-Silverdale, WA$105,1802.61$42,31969%6.2%16.13$228,502
73Indianapolis-Carmel-Anderson, IN$156,4642.36$38,60878%7.1%22.92$252,539
74Buffalo-Cheektowaga-Niagara Falls, NY$128,9461.74$39,13380%6.0%20.33$127,800
75Eugene, OR$111,4702.91$36,25183%7.5%12.28$237,302
76Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ$178,0272.14$38,58484%6.9%15.84$310,677
77Santa Maria-Santa Barbara, CA$143,5912.79$40,29188%6.8%9.08$400,060
78Ann Arbor, MI$98,7173.09$46,91578%5.8%13.45$255,852
79Rochester, NY$111,6692.30$39,05583%7.0%26.21$143,837
80Oklahoma City, OK$169,1932.75$35,13876%5.6%10.70$241,016
81Kansas City, MO-KS$171,2352.47$39,48277%5.5%9.47$294,487
82Savannah, GA$126,4853.01$34,42675%8.7%16.37$342,656
83Tallahassee, FL$123,8842.55$36,88290%10.2%5.07$605,147
84Jackson, MS$124,9732.62$35,01381%7.6%0.35$1,237,000
85Canton-Massillon, OH$103,8302.09$33,02976%6.5%32.68$91,733
86Cincinnati, OH-KY-IN$181,3692.19$40,66180%6.8%21.95$168,080
87Durham-Chapel Hill, NC$106,6333.04$41,93892%6.9%6.26$225,997
88Greeley, CO$97,5532.40$36,95973%5.3%14.05$410,659
89Trenton, NJ$162,5832.45$51,09184%8.3%12.11$210,337
90Corpus Christi, TX$136,3272.33$31,41069%6.1%7.89$409,931
91Toledo, OH$151,3421.88$36,28376%7.4%18.93$270,762
92Duluth, MN-WI$116,4442.15$37,79175%5.7%16.77$145,952
93Provo-Orem, UT$106,0362.26$33,50464%4.7%29.68$316,784
94Greensboro-High Point, NC$147,0802.57$35,15786%7.0%6.16$445,283
95Des Moines-West Des Moines, IA$115,1712.49$42,20081%4.5%14.06$176,911
96Kalamazoo-Portage, MI$103,8852.56$35,86477%7.7%18.56$392,665
97Worcester, MA-CT$159,5422.32$46,10182%7.1%17.52$117,668
98Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MI$132,4362.59$40,68074%9.1%29.74$138,064
99Norwich-New London, CT$127,3952.29$49,37188%6.4%7.67$99,071
100Richmond, VA$122,5112.28$42,06582%7.1%6.66$370,117
101Youngstown-Warren-Boardman, OH-PA$173,5042.09$32,61273%6.9%22.59$61,265
102Columbia, SC$119,3122.14$36,26985%7.3%4.25$698,438
103Sacramento--Roseville--Arden-Arcade, CA$145,3012.65$46,40884%8.9%18.04$285,133
104Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, FL$102,8672.61$36,67180%9.2%11.85$297,983
105San Antonio-New Braunfels, TX$148,7232.43$35,06581%6.3%11.91$329,915
106Fort Wayne, IN$186,7292.10$33,84174%6.7%17.79$191,691
107Erie, PA$136,8481.65$35,65177%6.8%9.70$149,169
108Waco, TX$158,7932.10$31,49278%4.8%11.45$421,377
109Louisville/Jefferson County, KY-IN$166,7772.33$37,03079%6.5%11.62$234,338
110New Haven-Milford, CT$143,5742.49$49,34886%8.8%11.26$380,127
111Dayton, OH$132,8862.19$37,34277%7.8%33.47$165,846
112St. Louis, MO-IL$185,5122.26$39,64376%7.1%2.53$271,548
113Harrisburg-Carlisle, PA$136,9811.88$40,47881%4.9%10.16$233,160
114Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford, CT$167,9622.28$50,05581%7.8%14.25$134,700
115Peoria, IL$149,4402.10$36,68066%6.3%10.80$364,622
116Roanoke, VA$154,1962.20$36,82678%6.0%4.16$147,131
117Gainesville, FL$133,3972.66$36,93983%9.2%12.45$280,197
118Port St. Lucie, FL$96,0183.24$33,77985%8.0%9.23$269,485
119Pensacola-Ferry Pass-Brent, FL$128,9322.53$31,78272%7.5%20.67$129,808
120South Bend-Mishawaka, IN-MI$100,7872.16$32,16676%7.6%21.61$272,187
121Gulfport-Biloxi-Pascagoula, MS$163,7512.22$31,77674%8.6%26.16$210,221
122Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, NV$209,9232.42$35,57485%9.4%12.71$324,022
123Wichita, KS$169,6742.25$35,83173%5.7%7.80$369,052
124Lansing-East Lansing, MI$86,6862.49$40,92184%6.8%18.92$191,905
125Huntsville, AL$177,7902.39$38,93269%7.6%13.15$167,148
126Greenville-Anderson-Mauldin, SC$102,9762.39$34,91679%7.0%8.23$378,504
127Laredo, TX$151,3722.35$26,22874%6.5%10.12$200,633
128Lynchburg, VA$137,0821.94$34,52482%5.0%0.78$93,500
129Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC$180,1312.20$36,94176%7.4%0.99$202,000
130Evansville, IN-KY$220,1531.95$32,53765%4.9%8.57$304,522
131Atlantic City-Hammonton, NJ$196,1492.16$40,81284%11.4%10.90$216,053
132Syracuse, NY$115,5982.20$40,68883%7.7%17.99$90,171
133Bakersfield, CA$470,4162.10$33,37577%11.0%10.75$392,628
134York-Hanover, PA$124,3322.32$37,74775%5.9%10.44$169,949
135Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, NC-SC$144,0932.73$38,08979%8.9%8.40$442,838
136Tucson, AZ$133,6762.36$34,76883%9.1%11.75$171,055
137Salem, OR$136,1182.08$35,28586%9.4%11.63$191,736
138Albuquerque, NM$156,2202.53$36,21886%8.9%10.05$188,467
139Reading, PA$248,8282.06$37,45678%8.7%14.75$108,097
140Springfield, MA$94,2962.41$41,81382%9.0%18.44$78,790
141Amarillo, TX$98,1392.57$32,07669%3.7%9.17$317,283
142Knoxville, TN$155,4282.27$35,17780%7.2%7.35$287,881
143Winston-Salem, NC$147,4912.15$34,05981%9.0%5.65$456,634
144Montgomery, AL$121,4382.72$32,39075%9.2%7.21$946,415
145Chattanooga, TN-GA$123,0962.23$35,28884%7.2%11.97$427,752
146Ocala, FL$98,8912.50$31,25386%8.6%3.54$307,925
147Birmingham-Hoover, AL$157,3462.49$35,81873%7.9%10.93$189,850
148Vallejo-Fairfield, CA$143,1492.08$47,26887%10.0%11.60$314,708
149Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton, PA-NJ$94,8712.22$40,06178%7.8%7.59$196,579
150Fayetteville, NC$134,4172.04$32,00380%9.2%6.61$394,944
151Davenport-Moline-Rock Island, IA-IL$162,3472.08$35,02569%6.4%7.85$175,626
152Lakeland-Winter Haven, FL$144,8791.99$32,18283%9.1%5.36$418,185
153Beaumont-Port Arthur, TX$138,3072.11$31,80464%7.2%8.91$328,844
154Fresno, CA$156,2491.92$35,67488%11.6%15.63$274,491
155Mobile, AL$139,2992.54$32,39368%7.9%9.39$279,097
156Rockford, IL$133,7212.21$36,54172%10.7%17.23$259,064
157Clarksville, TN-KY$173,0661.71$31,95679%9.5%9.66$138,130
158Columbus, GA-AL$76,3992.61$33,29091%9.1%3.84$538,400
159Utica-Rome, NY$104,4671.74$34,59978%7.7%21.24$110,028
160El Paso, TX$128,3222.33$27,89477%8.2%8.97$182,669
161Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA$168,0452.35$37,02581%11.5%13.71$383,577
162Hagerstown-Martinsburg, MD-WV$96,4542.05$39,30379%9.9%6.54$542,449
163Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton, NC$114,0222.11$31,15987%9.6%3.86$208,386
164McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, TX$104,8582.82$27,76886%9.3%7.58$260,717
165Kingsport-Bristol-Bristol, TN-VA$146,8932.00$31,48775%7.4%4.21$175,769
166Memphis, TN-MS-AR$109,7992.45$36,31786%9.1%4.02$397,837
167Stockton-Lodi, CA$114,5871.90$37,95880%11.1%11.88$466,288
168Augusta-Richmond County, GA-SC$104,4782.50$33,71373%9.8%7.20$240,648
169Brownsville-Harlingen, TX$68,7152.22$25,98583%8.2%10.70$157,754
170Modesto, CA$141,7171.84$36,65279%13.9%8.65$485,135
171Huntington-Ashland, WV-KY-OH$127,6781.69$32,23268%7.5%4.68$100,471
172Visalia-Porterville, CA$79,7261.61$32,80090%8.1%9.17$230,093
173Flint, MI$67,5522.76$34,88373%11.9%12.11$249,758
174Merced, CA$100,7531.56$31,72184%14.3%9.01$444,665

Methodology

NerdWallet analyzed 174 U.S. metropolitan areas, each with populations of 250,000 or more. Eleven metro areas without business or loan data were excluded.

Here’s how we calculated the overall score for each location:

Business climate, 45% of the overall score, is based on three metrics from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Survey of Business Owners.
Average revenue per business for women-owned businesses is 15% of the score. A higher average contributed to a higher score.
Percentage of women-owned businesses with paid employees is 15% of the score. A higher percentage contributed to a higher score.
Women-owned businesses per 100 residents is 15% of the score. A higher proportion contributed to a higher score.

Local economic health, 25% of the overall score, is based on three metrics from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey.
Median annual income for women is 5% of the score. A higher median income contributed to a higher score.
Median annual income of women as a percentage of the annual income for men is 5% of the score. A higher percentage contributed to a higher score.
Unemployment rate is 15% of the score. A lower rate contributed to a higher score.

Financing opportunities, 30% of the overall score, are based on two metrics from the Small Business Administration and the American Community Survey.
SBA-guaranteed loans per 100,000 residents are 15% of the score. A higher rate contributed to a higher score.
Average size of SBA-guaranteed loans is 15% of the score. Larger average loans contributed to a higher score.


Infographic by Jazeena Pineda.

Image via iStock.

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