women small bussiness
PeopleImages/istockphoto

The Best and Worst States for Women Entrepreneurs

View Slideshow
women small bussiness
PeopleImages/istockphoto

Women Who Mean Business

There's a growing number of women entrepreneurs making headlines (and fortunes) these days including such well-known names as Anne Wojcicki, whose 23andMe contributed to the personal DNA craze; Reshma Saujani, of Girls Who Code, which steers women into computer science careers; and Sara Blakely, who revolutionized wardrobes with her form-fitting and stylish Spanx. But for every Wojcicki, Saujani, and Blakely, there are countless female entrepreneurs who help power the economy but never make headlines. A Merchant Maverick study reveals that women-led start-ups are seeing substantial growth, eclipsing the $17 billion mark nationwide in venture capital in both 2018 and 2019. But not every state offers women equal opportunity. Here are the 10 best and worst states to be a female entrepreneur, ranked best to worst based on the study's overall score system.

Related: Best and Worst States for Women

boulder pearl street mall
espiegle/istockphoto

Best in the Country: Colorado

Firms led by women: 27.7%
Employed by women-led firms statewide: 19.9%
Average income of women leading businesses: $66,687
Venture capital invested in women-led startups: $485 million
Startups active after one year: 78.7%

Seattle
aiisha5/istockphoto

Second Best: Washington

Firms led by women: 28.2%
Employed by women-led firms statewide: 20%
Average income of women leading businesses: $65,439
Venture capital invested in women-led startups: $398 million
Startups active after one year: 79.7%

Arlington, Virginia
SeanPavonePhoto/istockphoto

Third Best: Virginia

Firms led by women: 27%
Employed by women-led firms statewide: 20%
Average income of women leading businesses: $67,923
Venture capital invested in women-led startups: $46 million
Startups active after one year: 90.5%

Related: 11 Careers Where Women Are Paid More Than Men

Miami
acavalli/istockphoto

Fourth Best: Florida

Firms led by women: 26.3%
Employed by women-led firms statewide: 18.8%
Average income of women leading businesses:$57,871
Venture capital invested in women-led startups: $219 million
Startups active after one year: 77.9%

Billings, Montana
peeterv/istockphoto

Fifth Best: Montana

Firms led by women: 26.2%
Employed by women-led firms statewide: 19.6%
Average income of women leading businesses: $85,064
Venture capital invested in women-led startups: $90,000
Startups active after one year: 79.7%

Related:21 Financial Lifelines to Help Small Businesses Stay Afloat

Austin, Texas
RoschetzkyIstockPhoto/istockphoto

Sixth Best: Texas

Firms led by women: 25.5%
Employed by women-led firms statewide: 20.1%
Average income of women leading businesses: $55,907
Venture capital invested in women-led startups: $365 million
Startups active after one year: 79.8%

Portland, Oregon
4nadia/istockphoto

Seventh Best: Oregon

Firms led by women: 27.5%
Employed by women-led firms statewide: 21.8%
Average income of women leading businesses: $59,092
Total venture capital invested into women-led startups: $84 million
Startups active after one year: 77.2%

Related: 10 Ways the Pandemic Is Hurting Women

Juneau, Alaska
BriBar/istockphoto

Eighth Best: Alaska

Firms led by women: 29.8%
Employed by women-led firms statewide: 22.7%
Average income of women leading businesses: $63,351
Venture capital invested in women-led startups: $694,000
Startups active after one year: 81.8%

San Francisco
EarthScapeImageGraphy/istockphoto

Ninth Best: California

Firms led by women: 25.7%
Employed by women-led firms statewide: 19.5%
Average income of women leading businesses: $74,438
Venture capital invested in women-led startups: $3.9 billion
Startups active after one year: 81.3%

Related: Top 15 Affordable Cities for Starting a Business

Maine
DenisTangneyJr/istockphoto

Tenth Best: Maine

Firms led by women: 24.4%
Employed by women-led firms statewide: 19.8%
Average income of women leading businesses: $75,760
Venture capital invested in women-led startups: $6.4 million
Startups active after one year: 78.9%

Boise, ID
knowlesgallery/istockphoto

Tenth Worst: Idaho

Firms led by women: 22.3%
Employed by women-led firms statewide: 18.3%
Average income of women leading businesses: $43,827
Venture capital invested in women-led startups: $2.4 million
Startups active after one year: 78.8%

Related: 18 Ways to Help Small Businesses Survive Right Now

Ohio
Davel5957/istockphoto

Ninth Worst: Ohio

Firms led by women: 21.8%
Employed by women-led firms statewide: 16.7%
Average income of women leading businesses: $49,029
Venture capital invested in women-led startups: $44 million
Startups active after one year: 79.7%

Madison, Wisconsin
csfotoimages/istockphoto

Eighth Worst: Wisconsin

Firms led by women: 22.3%
Employed by women-led firms statewide: 16.5%
Average income of women leading businesses: $46,940
Venture capital invested in women-led startups: $18 million
Startups active after one year: 78.6%

Related: 11 Things That Cost More for Women (or Men)

North Dakota
ericfoltz/istockphoto

Seventh Worst: North Dakota

Firms led by women: 20.2%
Employed by women-led firms statewide: 14.1%
Average income of women leading businesses: $64,928
Venture capital invested in women-led startups: $14,000
Startups active after one year: 78.4%

South Dakota
Wollertz/shutterstock

Sixth Worst: South Dakota

Firms led by women: 19.8%
Employed by women-led firms statewide: 14%
Average income of women leading businesses: $39,170
Venture capital invested in women-led startups: $10 million
Startups active after one year: 80.2%

Arkansas
BlazenImages/istockphoto

Fifth Worst: Arkansas

Firms led by women: 22.7%
Employed by women-led firms statewide: 16.2%
Average income of women leading businesses: $46,745
Venture capital invested in women-led startups: $1.8 million
Startups active after one year: 78%

Related: America's Worst Cities for Starting a Small Business

Iowa
LarryLindell/istockphoto

Fourth Worst: Iowa

Firms led by women: 21%
Employed by women-led firms statewide: 
16.5%
Average income of women leading businesses: 
$46,535
Venture capital invested in women-led startups: $2,000
Startups active after one year: 81.4%

Charleston, West Virginia
Sean Pavone/istockphoto

Third Worst: West Virginia

Firms led by women: 20.1%
Employed by women-led firms statewide: 15.6%
Average income of women leading businesses: $63,353
Venture capital invested in women-led startups: $0
Startups active after one year: 79.9%

Related: Women-Owned Small Businesses to Support on Amazon

Omaha, Nebraska
Davel5957/istockphoto

Second Worst: Nebraska

Firms led by women: 21.3%
Employed by women-led firms statewide: 13.3%
Average income of women leading businesses: $43,744
Venture capital invested in women-led startups: $2.8 million
Startups active after one year: 78.9%

Mississippi River bridge at Vicksburg, Mississippi
JayL/shutterstock

Worst in the Country: Mississippi

Firms led by women: 20.8%
Employed by women-led firms statewide: 14.5%
Average income of women leading businesses: $44,046
Venture capital invested in women-led startups: $0
Startups active after one year: 80.5%

Related: Small Businesses You Can Start With Less Than $1,000