At the 8th annual Dell Women Entrepreneur Network Summit, Dell announced findings of the 2017 Women Entrepreneur Cities (WE Cities) Index, revealing how 50 top global cities are fostering high-potential women entrepreneurs (HPWE). Building on 2016 WE Cities research, this study ranks cities based on the impact of local policies, programs and characteristics in addition to national laws and customs.

“Globally, women’s entrepreneurship rates are growing more than 10 percent each year. In fact, women are as likely or more likely than men to start businesses in many markets. However, financial, cultural and political barriers can limit the success of these businesses,” said Karen Quintos, EVP and chief customer officer at Dell. “By arming city leaders and policymakers with data-driven research and clear calls to action, we can collectively improve the landscape for high-potential women entrepreneurs, which in turn dramatically lifts a city’s economic prospects — as what is good for women is good for the economy.”

“It is in the world’s best interest that women entrepreneurs everywhere thrive. The WE Cities Index can be used as a diagnostic tool to help ensure that lawmakers are enabling women entrepreneurs to succeed,” said Elizabeth Gore, entrepreneur-in- residence at Dell. “Each of the cities on this list can learn from one another and encourage political change to attract and support women entrepreneurs. The resulting change will be felt at not just a city level, around the world as we develop an ecosystem where all entrepreneurs can thrive regardless of gender.”

“Cities in Asia Pacific (APJ) hold huge promise and opportunity for women entrepreneurs, with a number of cities in the region already realizing success in terms of attracting and fostering high-potential women business owners,” said Amit Midha, president, APJ commercial at Dell EMC. “Throughout the region and across the five city characteristics looked at as part of our WE Cities ranking – capital, technology, talent, culture and markets – we see cities differentiating themselves in specific areas. For instance, ranking #8 and #16 respectively are Singapore and Hong Kong. Both cities are focusing on technology leadership and their ability to enable women entrepreneurs to stand out, through technology and innovation. Kuala Lumpur is also emerging as a ‘City to Watch’ in recognition of its enabling factors for business and society. The challenges women entrepreneurs face are complex, but the success stories we see are testament to the scale of the opportunity available in APJ. Identifying these challenges and working to address these is an investment in our collective future.”

Top 50 WE Cities Ranking & Methodology

Building on the past five years of Dell research on HPWE, cities were ranked on five important characteristics: capital, technology, talent, culture and markets. These pillars were organized into two groups — operating environment and enabling environment. The overall rating is based on 72 indicators; 45 of these, nearly two-thirds, have a gender-based component. Individual indicators were weighted based on four criteria: relevance, quality of underlying data, uniqueness in the index and gender component. The 50 cities were ranked as follows:

  1. New York City
  2. Bay Area
  3. London
  4. Boston
  5. Stockholm
  6. Los Angeles
  7. Washington, DC
  8. Singapore
  9. Toronto
  10. Seattle
  11. Sydney
  12. Paris
  13. Chicago
  14. Minneapolis
  15. Austin
  16. Hong Kong
  17. Melbourne
  18. Atlanta
  19. Amsterdam
  20. Portland (OR)
  21. Berlin
  22. Taipei
  23. Pittsburg
  24. Tel Aviv
  25. Copenhagen
  26. Vancouver
  27. Houston
  28. Johannesburg
  29. Barcelona
  30. Seoul
  31. Munich
  32. Miami/Ft. Lauderdale
  33. Nairobi
  34. Dublin
  35. Warsaw
  36. Belfast
  37. Milan
  38. Beijing
  39. Tokyo
  40. Bangalore
  41. Kuala Lumpur
  42. Sao Paulo
  43. Dubai
  44. Shanghai
  45. Mexico City
  46. Lima
  47. Guadalajara
  48. Istanbul
  49. Delhi
  50. Jakarta
  • 41 of the cities in this index are in the top five for at least one pillar or sub-category; 34 of the cities are in the bottom five for at least one of the pillars or sub-categories – demonstrating the competitiveness of these 50 cities
  • Singapore is the only Asian city that made it to the Top 10 (No. 8 overall). It ranks No. 7 in terms of Capital, No. 6 in Enabling Environment, No. 5 in Culture and No. 10 in Technology
  • A number of APJ cities that are not ranked in the top ten overall do very well within an individual category. For instance:
    • Kuala Lumpur is listed in the ‘Cities to Watch’ category. While the city ranks No. 41 overall, it ranks No. 5 in Markets, ranking No. 1 in Cost and No. 6 in Access. Furthermore, it ranks No. 8 in Women’s skill & experience (Talent)
    • Hong Kong made it to the top 10 for the Technology segment, though overall it ranks as No. 16
    • Melbourne is within the top list for Culture, while overall it achieved a ranking of No. 17
    • Beijing ranks No. 38 overall, but it is within the top 10 for Capital and Talent
    • While Sydney ranks No. 11 overall, it ranks No. 3 for Enabling Environment, ranks No. 2 for Culture. No. 6 for Access to Mentors/Role Models

The 2016 and 2017 studies differ in several ways, including the total number of cities, number of indicators and the weight of indicators based on new data sources. Given the new elements to the ranking, scores should not be compared year-over-year.