By Karen Gilchrist, CNBC, July 16th, 2019
The San Francisco Bay Area has overtaken New York City as the most accommodative place in the world to be a female entrepreneur, according to a new study.
Efforts to eliminate the so-called bro culture, increased access to funding for women and ongoing tech developments were some of the ways in which the Bay Area leapfrogged its East Coast rival to rank top of the 2019 Women Entrepreneur Cities (WE Cities) Index.
Indeed, the tech hub outperformed across the report’s five main metrics — markets, talent, capital, culture and technology — to surpass the high previously set by New York in 2017.
The Bay Area’s progress this year saw New York to drop to second place, followed by London (3rd), Boston (4th) and Los Angeles (5th). The top 10 was rounded out by Washington D.C. (6th), Seattle (7th), Paris (8th), Toronto (9th) and Stockholm (10th).
The WE Cities Index, which is a joint venture between Dell Technologies and global research firm IHS Markit, ranks 50 global cities on their ability to “attract and support high potential women entrepreneurs.”
It was launched three years ago to test how well “already proven” entrepreneurial hubs “perform across the board,” specifically in regards to women business owners, Karen Quintos, Dell’s executive vice president and chief customer officer, told CNBC Make It at the launch of the report in Singapore.
While all cities recorded improvements since 2017′s benchmark index, Quintos noted that all were “still well below the 100 mark” — the total achievable score —and showed plenty of room for progress.
The top performer, the Bay Area, scored 63.7%, marginally above the 62.9% high set by New York in 2017. The medium score across the 50 cities in 2019 was 40.3% versus 39.3%.
North America featured the greatest number of cities in the year’s top 10, with a total of seven, followed by Europe, which had three. Cities in the Asia Pacific, Latin America and Middle East regions meanwhile were absent from the top ranks.
No region performed universally well across the five key metrics, however. While North America rose to the top of the culture pillar for its ability to embrace women entrepreneurs, Europe showed the most progress in terms of access to capital.
Latin America showed the most improvement in its ability to operate fair markets, the Middle East demonstrated the greatest tech progress and Asia Pacific exhibited an improved talent pool.
Chris Turner, vice president of government affairs at Dell, said the top performing cities were all united by strong support at a government level, which demonstrated the need for top-down action.
That should come in the form of supportive policies and business partnerships, as well as installing strong role models. “Appointing women into government positions is one of the biggest takeaways,” he said.
“When we invest in women, we invest in the future; communities prosper, economies thrive and the next generation leads with purpose,” Quintos added.