Washington has One of the Best Business Climates for Women Entrepreneurs

Washington is among the top states for women entrepreneurs thanks to Seattle’s vibrant business landscape and favorable climate for female empowerment.

A study by small-business platform FitSmallBusiness ranks the state No. 3 in the nation. While  there is often an inverse relationship between the cost of living in a state and other “startup friendly” economic factors, Seattle, however, strikes a good balance, with attitudes and support for women-owned businesses.

“As in the similar case of San Francisco, Washington state boasts a start-up powerhouse city in Seattle — all within the larger context of a vibrant and thriving Pacific Northwest business landscape,” the study says. “While the cost of living there is high, it’s not California or New York-level high.”

Other factors in Washington’s favor include “no corporate income tax” and “a plethora of major female-empowerment and funding organizations,” including, for example, the Women’s Funding Alliance, 100% Talent, Women’s Funding Network and the Female Founders Alliance (FFA).

FFA is a Seattle organization that works to educate and connect women-founded companies with venture capital opportunities. The alliance recently acquired New York-based Monarq Incubator, making FFA the largest network of its kind nationally.

The top 10 states for women-owned businesses are:

  1. Colorado
  2. California
  3. Washington
  4. New York
  5. Texas
  6. Florida
  7. Massachusetts
  8. Georgia
  9. Iowa
  10. Vermont

As of 2019, Washington had an estimated 215,185 women-owned businesses. This is a 10% increase since 2014, a 3.9% bump from 2018, according to American Express’ ninth annual “State of Women-Owned Business Report.” 

The pace of growth of women-owned firms in the Seattle area and Washington state over the past five years eclipses measures of total new-business growth nationally (9%), the American Express study reveals.

Washington’s women-owned businesses recorded estimated sales of nearly $34 billion in 2019, up 14.5% from five years earlier, the study also notes.

This article was originally published in Seattle Business Magazine by Bill Conroy.

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