Yet “access to capital and technology, as well as cultural and political barriers, continue to limit the success of women-owned businesses,” says Dell’s Karen Quintos.
New York, San Francisco, London, Boston and Stockholm ranked atop last year’s Dell Women Entrepreneur Cities Index, a ranking of 50 cities on their ability to attract and support women entrepreneurs. This year Dell went deeper, providing blueprints for how 10 cities could foster high-potential women entrepreneurs. For example:
- In Singapore, ranked No. 8, more venture capital funds flow to businesses with at least 25% female executives than in most cities. It’s a relatively safe city, provides paid maternity leave and at 72%, has the third-highest female labor force participation rates (only behind Beijing and Shanghai). Singapore’s commitment to meritocracy, however, limits the kind of positive discrimination that could help women-owned businesses. More flexible work practices could help women take on leadership roles.
- Austin, which ranked 15th, deserves its rep as a technologically progressive city. It gets high scores for women’s proficiency in digital skills and organizations training women on tech. While the Texas capital has also burnished a rep as an emerging hub for entrepreneurship, this hasn’t yet translated to equitable opportunities for women. Austin needs more organizations like Women@Austin promoting women’s business leadership and mentorship, according to Dell’s blueprint. Austin could also follow cities like London and guarantee paid maternity leave for women entrepreneurs.
- Mexico City, coming in 45th, scored the highest of all cities in female-owned startups as a percent of startups in the city. A relatively low cost of living also benefits women entrepreneurs, though high crime rates and violence against women do not. Venture capital funding has not followed women’s participation in entrepreneurship; only 12% of funded startups have a women on their founding team. Some funds, according to the blueprint, including Jaguar Ventures (40%), Auria Capital (33%), ALL VP (29%), and Variv Capital (27%) invest in women at higher rates than their peers.