A new study underscores the old adage that the most important thing in business is location, location, location.
In the top 50 U.S. metropolitan areas, the number of women-owned firms has increased 33 to 59 percent in the past seven years, according to a 1999 report by the National Foundation for Women Business Owners (NFWBO).
Bruce Rosenthal of NFWBO attributes the overall growth to several factors: the strong economy; an exodus of women from corporate America; more women entrepreneurs who serve as role models to their friends, sisters and mothers; and the increasing amount of data available on women entrepreneurs. "Information empowers women and makes them realize business ownership is a viable career option," says Rosenthal.
The booming high-tech industry on the West Coast, in particular, has drawn large numbers of women entrepreneurs to the area. Michael Evans, director of real estate services for Ernst & Young LLP, points out that many West Coast women, especially in areas like Silicon Valley and the Microsoft-centric Washington state, opt to leave high-tech companies to create firms of their own.