Rochester Ranks 6th for Best & Worst Cities for Women Owned Businesses

A commissioned report by American Express sought to find the trends in the business world from 1997-2015. In particular the trending of women owned businesses and the environment going forward. It found that between 1997 and 2015 women owned businesses grew at a rate of 74% as opposed to the overall growth of 51%. This means that women are becoming business owners at a faster rate and generating nearly 1.5 trillion in revenue and employing over 7.9 million people. The rates at which women owned businesses is growing is the fastest of all sectors and Rochester is one place where that holds true.

“The only bright spot in recent years with respect to privately-held company job growth has been among women-owned firms. They have added an estimated 340,000 jobs since 2007. Among men-owned and equally-owned firms, employment has declined over the past eight years.” –American Express Open Report

Nationally the trend of women owning business has been on the rise. Women owned business has risen 74% since 1997. While other segments of start ups has fallen women have increased. Between 2002 and 2015 the number of women owned firms has increased 45%. The biggest increase has come in the firms that concentrate on education which has seen a rise of 139% women ownership. The increase in minority women business ownership has skyrocketed. In 1997 there were less than 1 million minority women owned firms in the U.S. In 2015 that number has climbed to over 3 million. With minority women owned businesses comprising 33% as compared to 17% in 1997. The good news for Rochester was recently ranked sixth in the country overall in the top ten on 2016’S Best and worst cities for women owned businesses. Rochester ranks #18 in overall new business friendliness rank for women. Rochester ranked fifth for “Business climate for women” which helped propel the city to sixth overall. See all the numbers below.




Overall Rank


Total Score

‘Overall New-Business Friendliness’ Rank

‘Female Entrepreneurship’ Rank

‘Business Climate for Women’ Rank

1 Nashville-Davidson–Murfreesboro–Franklin, TN 70.04 13 20 18
2 Chattanooga, TN-GA 69.79 2 50 18
3 Columbus, OH 68.13 7 23 27
4 Memphis, TN-MS-AR 66.99 4 66 18
5 Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, WI 66.44 30 48 2
6 Rochester, NY 64.89 18 77 5
7 Kansas City, MO-KS 64.82 22 14 25
8 Spokane-Spokane Valley, WA 64.60 25 55 11
9 Greensboro-High Point, NC 64.57 6 56 40
10 Honolulu, HI 63.88 43 3 17