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Startup Genome Reveals Top 10 Startup Ecosystems for Female Founders

Chicago tops the list with New York City, Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai, and Houston rounding out the top five startup ecosystems for women founders.
Laís de Oliveira
on July 24, 2019

Startup Genome and the Global Entrepreneurship Network have announced the top 10 startup ecosystems in the world for female founders. These findings are showcased in the Global Startup Economy Spotlight: Top Ecosystem Rankings for Female Founders, Agtech, and Cleantech report. Dane Stangler, Startup Genome President and Chief Policy Officer, shared the findings at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) in the Netherlands in June.

Chicago, one of the top 20 startup ecosystems in the world, leads the way in female entrepreneurship with more than 25% of their founders being women. Rounding out the top five overall are New York City, Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai, and Houston. Globally, only 14.1% of tech founders are women.

Of the more than 80 ecosystems Startup Genome measured, women do not make up half of the founders in any ecosystem. In fact, only three ecosystems crack the top 10 in both female entrepreneurship and global performance: New York, Los Angeles, and Shanghai.

The top 10 startup ecosystems for female founders in 2019 are:


  1. Chicago (26%)
  2. New York City (22-24%)
  3. Kuala Lumpur (22-24%)
  4. Shanghai (22-24%)
  5. Houston (20%)
  6. Denver-Boulder (20%)
  7. Sydney (19%)
  8. Miami (19%)
  9. Los Angeles (18%)
  10. Busan (18%)

This research is an extension of the recently published 2019 Global Startup Ecosystem Report (GSER), the world’s most comprehensive and widely-read research on startup ecosystems. The GSER looks at trends among startup ecosystems and it examines the growth and decline of sub-sectors, both globally and in individual ecosystems.

“Startup success should not depend on gender, geography, ethnicity, social background, or sexual orientation,” said JF Gauthier, Founder and CEO of Startup Genome. “Startup ecosystems have become the number one engine of job creation and economic growth, and local leaders must focus their actions and policies on engaging more women in startups.”

If you are interested in reading more on this subject, Startup Genome’s team is soon launching a blog series highlighting some of the top ecosystems for female founders. We will dive into what makes cities like Chicago, New York, Shanghai, and Denver-Boulder more inclusive than many other ecosystems. Please keep an eye on Startup Genome’s social channels (Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook) and our blog for more on this important topic.


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