The top 10 US cities for women entrepreneurs

These cities have the highest business income for self-employed women, and parity of business ownership between men and women, according to MagnifyMoney.

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American women have made a number of strides in the world of business leadership over the past decade, but still lead only 30% of incorporated businesses across the top 50 US metro areas, according to a recent report from MagnifyMoney. However, certain cities are more likely to foster successful female company leaders than others.

The report examined data about women entrepreneurs across four different categories: Business income for self-employed women, business earnings for self-employed women compared with wage earners, the rate of self-employed and "incorporated" women, and parity of business ownership between women and men.

Most self-employed women are not making ends meet solely based on their business income, the report found. The highest median income for women-led businesses was just over $10,000. Across the 50 metro areas studied, median business incomes amounted to only about 10% of local median wages for women.

SEE: Hiring kit: Chief diversity officer (Tech Pro Research)

"This is not surprising," said Kali McFadden, senior research analyst at MagnifyMoney, in a press release. "Self-employment could mean anything from having an Etsy store or offering a few hours of labor on TaskRabbit, to owning a bed-and-breakfast or gas station, to being a high-dollar commercial realtor or blockbuster novelist."

However, in the best cities for female entrepreneurs, women who are self-employed are more likely to earn a decent living, the report found. These cities also tend to have higher rates of self-employed women, which is a sign that conditions could be more favorable for those workers.

San Francisco came in at the top of the list, largely due to having the highest business incomes earned by women working there. The median business income is $10,378 among female San Franciscans, and women's average business income is $31,880, the report found. Female entrepreneurs are also more common in San Francisco, as nearly 42% of the city's self-employed workers are women, and 32% of incorporated businesses there are owned by women.

Austin came in at no. 2, with median women's business earnings reaching $8,262, and the average at $25,345. At no. 3, San Jose has one of the highest average business incomes for women, at $30,344 per year, according to the report.

Here are the 10 best cities for female entrepreneurs, according to the report:

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Image: MagnifyMoney

However, it's not all good news: In terms of the worst metro areas for women entrepreneurs, Cleveland ranked last. There, women's median business income is $0—meaning at least half of self-employed women there don't make anything at all. Pittsburgh and Philadelphia came in second- and third-to-last.

SEE: The state of women in computer science: An investigative report (TechRepublic)

The city you live in ultimately won't guarantee success or failure in business, the report noted. Here are four tips for women interested in becoming entrepreneurs:

1. Start small, but dream big

You may not be ready to quit your full-time job, but don't shove your own business goals to the side, the report recommended. Building a timeline of small, actionable steps you can start taking now is a good way to move toward your entrepreneurial goals.

2. Explore your city's business landscape

Research local regulations and bylaws that may impact your business idea. For example, you can research business licensing laws and local small business tax breaks to help create your business plan. You can also look into other local small businesses to see which are doing well and why, to get insights into how to set your own idea up for success.

3. Seek out local resources for women entrepreneurs

Many cities offer support systems designed to foster growing small businesses and women entrepreneurs, the report noted. For example, the San Francisco-based Girls in Tech is a nonprofit that aims to empower and educate women—including entrepreneurs—in the tech industry.

4. Network with other self-employed women

Meeting, working with, and learning from other entrepreneurial women can be key for getting your own venture off the ground, the report noted. Local organizations, co-working spaces, and meetups can help you connect with friends, mentors, and future business partners.

Also see

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Image: iStockphoto/UberImages

By Alison DeNisco Rayome

Alison DeNisco Rayome is a Senior Editor for TechRepublic. She covers CXO, cybersecurity, and the convergence of tech and the workplace.