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May 24, 2023 | Tom Ballard

Tennessee doesn’t rank high in female business ownership

No city in the Volunteer State made the top 50, and the state itself placed #31 in a ranking of its peers.

Wonder what city in the U.S. has the highest percentage of female owners? Well, it’s not in the Volunteer State, but rather in the Show Me State. St. Louis to be exact.

That’s according to an analysis done by OnDeck that reviewed U.S. Census Bureau data for more than 300,000 organizations in every major city and state to find out which proportion of business owners in every state and metropolitan area are owned by women. To be classified as an owner, a person needs to own at least 10 percent of a business.

The key findings were:

  • The St. Louis Metro Area led the country with 24.84 percent of registered companies founded by women, according to the Census Bureau’s 2021 Annual Business Survey.
  • A higher percentage of female-founded organizations are located in Alaska (24.7 percent) than any other U.S. state, closely followed by Colorado at 23.8 percent.
  • Just 14.8 percent of businesses in Salt Lake City are owned by women — the lowest proportion of any urban area in America.

No Tennessee city cracked the top 50 in OnDeck’s list, but several nearby communities did. Atlanta placed #4, Raleigh was #8, and Charleston was #11. Others in the top 50 were Jacksonville (#15), Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater (#19), Kansas City (#25), Charlotte (#33), Durham-Chapel Hill (#36), and Little Rock (#43). PYA, the power behind, has offices in Atlanta, Charlotte, Kansas City, and Tampa.

Among the states, Tennessee ranked #31 behind neighbors including Arkansas (#30), Louisiana (#29), Kentucky (#20), South Carolina (#18), Georgia (#13), Florida (#7), North Carolina (#5), and Virginia (#3).

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