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.

No more articles