The Most Supportive States For Women Business Owners

By Kathy Morris - Nov. 10, 2020

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It is 2020, and while times are changing, women in the United States still face challenges their male counterparts don’t.

From discrimination to slimmer paychecks and disproportionate share of household tasks, it isn’t easy being a woman in America.

Those challenges are compounded when women decide to become entrepreneurs. In the US, until 1972 women could be denied business loans and business components on the basis of sex. Even today, women still receive less grants and funding than male owned businesses.

Despite these challenges, there are 1.1 million women owned businesses in the United States that employ over 100 million American workers. However, some states do a better job at creating an environment where women owned businesses flourish.

We analyzed the data to find the most supportive states for women owned business owners– and the states that are falling behind.

Best States Women Owned Businesses

  1. Minnesota
  2. Wisconsin
  3. Alabama
  4. Maryland
  5. New Hampshire
  6. Nevada
  7. Hawaii
  8. Connecticut
  9. Alaska
  10. Indiana

Keep reading to see what sets these states apart, and where your state ranked.

How We Determined This

We ranked each state on 4 areas:

  • Women owned businesses
  • Number of employees who work at women owned businesses
  • Sales per company
  • Percent of women CEOs

Our data on the first 3 criteria comes from the US Census’ annual business survey, covering the year 2017.

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Women owned businesses was compared to overall state population. The more women owned businesses the better the environment for women entrepreneurs.

From there, we set out to see how successful those businesses are- looking at the number of employees (number of employees/number of women owned businesses) and overall sales (total revenue/number of women owned businesses.) While many entrepreneurs are satisfied with a small, profitable business, growth is a sign of a flourishing business– and an environment where those businesses thrive.

Finally, we decided to incorporate the percentage of women CEOs to see the number of women who reach the top. Growth doesn’t happen in a vacuum: Communities of strong, professional women support other strong, professional women. We gathered this data from Discoverorg’s study on women CEOs.

Keep reading to see some highlights of the top 10, and the full list of all 50 states.

1. Minnesota

minnesota class=

Women Owned Businesses: 20,352
Women CEOS (%): 24.9
Employees Per Company:10.2

Minnesota is the #1 state for women business owners. What makes Minnesota so great? Women owned businesses are thriving there! Women owned businesses are larger than typical there, with about 10.2 employees per business if you break it down- 2 more than the nationwide average. Those businesses are doing fairly well, with a smashing 34 billion in revenue.

2. Wisconsin

wisconsin class=

Women Owned Businesses: 17,085
Women CEOS (%): 27.2
Employees Per Company:10.7

In 2nd place is Wisconsin. While the Badger State has more revenue per women owned business than Minnesota and larger revenues, it falls a bit behind in other categories. Regardless, the state offers women entrepreneurs a strong environment to succeed.

3. Alabama

alabama class=

Women Owned Businesses: 12,169
Women CEOS (%): 29.8
Employees Per Company:11.6

Alabama is the 3rd most supportive state for women owned businesses. What sets Alabama apart? These women owned business owners are called boss by a lot of people! Per-capita women owned businesses employ more individuals in Alabama than any other state.

4. Maryland

maryland class=

Women Owned Businesses: 21,325
Women CEOS (%): 22.5
Employees Per Company:10.2

Maryland is home to over 21 thousand women-owned businesses. Those women owned businesses employ over 200,000 thousand workers, bringing in 32 billion in revenue. When you break it down that works out to 10 workers per business and a healthy 1,532,055 per company. Pretty impressive.

5. New Hampshire

new hampshire class=

Women Owned Businesses: 4,662
Women CEOS (%): 28.6
Employees Per Company:9.9

Just behind Maryland is New Hampshire in 5th place. Women make it to the top more often in New Hampshire than most states, with 29% of all CEOs being women. Of course, 4,662 go even further, choosing the job title “entrepreneur” and starting their own business.

6. Nevada

nevada class=

Women Owned Businesses: 10,293
Women CEOS (%): 25.2
Employees Per Company:9.4

Nevada is the 6th most supportive state for women entrepreneurs. Women owned businesses in Nevada bring in 13 billion in revenue, all the while employing just under 100,000 workers. It’s easy to see Nevada has a lot to offer women business owners.

6. Hawaii

hawaii class=

Women Owned Businesses: 4,830
Women CEOS (%): 28.5
Employees Per Company:9.1

Women looking for business success might want to say Aloha to Hawaii. The tiny island state is home to 4,830 women-owned businesses that employ 43,776 workers. Women aren’t just succeeding in their own businesses; 29% of CEOs in Hawaii are female.

8. Connecticut

connecticut class=

Women Owned Businesses: 12,014
Women CEOS (%): 23.8
Employees Per Company:9.2

In 8th place is Connecticut. No one area is responsible for Connecticut’s excellent ranking, but rather nice, solid performance across the board. Don’t believe me? Just look at Companions Homemakers, Phoenix Manufacturing Inc., and other thriving women owned businesses in Connecticut.

9. Alaska

alaska class=

Women Owned Businesses: 3,506
Women CEOS (%): 33.3
Employees Per Company:7.0

If you think of burly lumberjacks in flannel when you hear Alaska, you might should think again. Alaska is the 9th best states for women entrepreneurs. The state has the third highest women owned businesses. Perhaps unsurprisingly, 33% of all CEOs in this northern state are female.

10. Indiana

indiana class=

Women Owned Businesses: 17,721
Women CEOS (%): 23.0
Employees Per Company:10.9

In 10th place is Indiana, but this state still has a lot to offer women entrepreneurs. While Indiana doesn’t have as many female entrepreneurs as other states, it makes up for it in other areas- including sales and a rather hefty number of employees.

Opportunity Isn’t Always Equal

These are the 10 best states for women entrepreneurs. While women face many obstacles when opening their own business, these states offer better prospects than most.

No state had 50% female CEOs, and most fell far short. However, the difference between Montana at 40% and West Virginia at 17% is significant. Similarly, no state had close to the same number of women business owners as men. Yet, some states inched closed.

Overall, while we cannot guarantee that every women business owner will be successful in Minnesota or other high ranking states, there is certainly a strong, environment of success for female owned businesses in these states.

Most Supportive States For Women Business Owners

Rank State Women Owned Businesses Women Ceos (%) Employees Per Company
1 Minnesota 20,352 24 10
2 Wisconsin 17,085 27 10
3 Alabama 12,169 29 11
4 Maryland 21,325 22 10
5 New Hampshire 4,662 28 9
6 Nevada 10,293 25 9
6 Hawaii 4,830 28 9
8 Connecticut 12,014 23 9
9 Alaska 3,506 33 7
10 Indiana 17,721 23 10
10 Maine 6,119 30 7
12 Illinois 48,832 23 8
12 New Jersey 35,466 20 8
14 Michigan 29,706 22 9
15 Texas 85,010 19 10
16 Virginia 31,800 24 8
17 New York 91,676 22 8
17 Iowa 9,377 21 9
19 Ohio 30,759 20 10
19 Massachusetts 23,778 20 8
19 New Mexico 6,651 25 10
22 California 150,552 21 8
22 Pennsylvania 37,987 22 10
22 Kansas 9,408 24 8
22 Vermont 2,649 38 7
26 Montana 5,743 40 6
27 Nebraska 6,340 24 8
27 Delaware 3,144 32 8
29 Washington 29,770 25 7
29 Louisiana 13,170 21 10
31 Tennessee 16,428 22 10
32 Georgia 35,855 22 8
32 Oregon 18,447 23 8
34 South Carolina 14,249 24 9
34 Arkansas 7,874 26 8
36 Arizona 20,736 26 8
37 Mississippi 6,653 28 9
38 Rhode Island 4,084 28 6
39 Wyoming 3,051 25 5
40 North Carolina 33,128 22 9
40 Colorado 29,438 23 6
40 North Dakota 2,940 23 7
43 South Dakota 3,006 21 7
44 Kentucky 11,435 18 9
45 Idaho 5,706 26 8
46 Missouri 26,068 22 7
47 Florida 93,163 22 6
47 Utah 10,215 17 8
49 Oklahoma 12,764 19 8
50 West Virginia 3,728 17 9

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Kathy Morris


Kathy Morris

Kathy is the head of content at Zippia with a knack for engaging audiences. Prior to joining Zippia, Kathy worked at Gateway Blend growing audiences across diverse brands. She graduated from Troy University with a degree in Social Science Education.

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