Durham, NC named a top city in US for female entrepreneurs

North Carolina is home to one of the best cities in the country for women entrepreneurs, a new report finds.

Durham ranked No. 7 on a list of places where conditions support women who start businesses, according to results released last month from Fundera.

To come up with its findings, the small business resource says it examined the 100 U.S. cities that have the most workers. Analysts studied federal government and Tax Foundation data to determine business ownership, income, affordability and educational attainment, according to Fundera.

Durham made it into the top 10 after getting a boost for its percentage of all “self-employed business owners who are women” — a figure that stands at 47.1%, results show. It also received high scores for its pre-pandemic job growth and “relatively low housing costs,” according to the findings.

“Despite its high ranking, Durham still has room to grow as a top city for women entrepreneurs,” the Fundera report said. “Only 2.1% of the city’s women are employed in their own business, and the earnings gap between men and women business owners approaches 30%.”

It isn’t the first time Durham has been named a top place for women to find opportunities.

In June, the city ranked No. 9 on a SmartAsset list of cities “where women are most successful.” The nationwide study examined education levels, income and business ownership among women, McClatchy News previously reported.

And in March, CommercialCafe named Durham the No. 5 place in the country for women working in science, technology, engineering and math. In that study, the portion of women with college degrees helped the city to earn a spot in the rankings, McClatchy News reported.

But that same month, WalletHub found North Carolina as a whole was just average for women. The state ranked No. 32 in a study that examined health care, economic opportunities and other factors that contribute to women’s experiences, McClatchy News reported.

The latest Fundera rankings were released as several businesses struggle to survive during coronavirus-related restrictions.

At least some of the data Fundera weighed was from before the COVID-19 pandemic, results show. Officials say they analyzed data from the 2018 American Community Survey, the most recent complete list of data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Overall, Seattle was named the best city in the nation for female entrepreneurs, according to Fundera’s report.

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Simone Jasper is a reporter covering breaking stories for The News & Observer and real-time news in the Carolinas.

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