What Women (Entrepreneurs) Want

Colorado, California and Washington have the ingredients to help make a successful female entrepreneur, according to the third annual definitive ranking from FitSmallBusiness.com.

In this year’s report, it’s all about the “balance” or more specifically, the winning combo: strong economic incentives AND a female-friendly business environment. Some states which were ranked low in years past, jumped to the Top 10. Vermont took the #10 spot on this year’s list but had been ranked #41 in last year’s report. Similarly, Iowa, which had clocked in at #35 last year, moved up to #9 in the 2020 report. And, Colorado, which had been ranked #21 in last year’s report, took the coveted #1 spot this year.

So, what are the winning factors for this year’s top crop? These states all possess a healthy mix of pro-business climates and “woman-positive” financial environment. Feisty outliers such as Florida, Georgia and Iowa all delivered the winning elements along with more traditional “business hubs” including California, New York and Massachusetts.

The editors at FitSmallBusiness.com compiled data from key data sources including Kauffman Indicators of Entrepreneurship, Tax Foundation’s State Corporate Income Tax Rates, World Population Review’s Cost of Living Index, and more, to rank each state. This research and analysis determined which are the best for female entrepreneurs—the publication’s third annual study of “Best States for Female Entrepreneurs.”

You can find the full list here.


1) Colorado

2) California

3) Washington

4) New York

5) Texas

6) Florida

7) Massachusetts

8) Georgia

9) Iowa

10) Vermont



FitSmallBusiness used the following metrics and weights to analyze and eventually rank the Best States for Female Entrepreneurs:

1) Start-Up Climate and Opportunity (35%)

  • Growth rate
  • Survival rate
  • New job creation and “opportunity share” of new entrepreneurs

2) Economic & Financial Health (15%)

  • Cost of living
  • Corporate tax rate

3) Women’s Health & Safety (15%)

  • Female uninsured rate
  • Political representation
  • Reproductive rights
  • Homicide rate


4) Women’s Business Opportunity (35%)

  • Share of women-owned businesses
  • Economic “clout”
  • Rates of unemployment
  • Amount of VC dollars going to female entrepreneurs

“All the data shows that female entrepreneurship is on the rise,” according to Michael De Medeiros, special projects editor at FitSmallBusiness. “Our goal, this year, was to really focus on the data that specifically relates to women and their ability to work, live and thrive in any given state in conjunction with what makes for a healthy business environment.  What we discovered is that some states that we previously thought were perfect, are not necessarily the best for the very unique journeys that female entrepreneurs have to navigate.  We hope that our continuing efforts to identify the best states for women entrepreneurship will lead to new, dynamic businesses throughout the country.”


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