Dell WE Cities Index: How They Support Female Entrepreneurs

By Pamela Connellan
on 1 February 2023

Dell Technologies has released its latest Women Entrepreneur Cities Index – a global study that ranks cities around the world on their ability to attract and support high potential women entrepreneurs. Sydney and Melbourne are both high rankers on the list, with Sydney coming in at #9 and Melbourne placed at #12.  

London came in as the best city in the world for women entrepreneurs this year with New York, the San Francisco Bay Area, Paris and Stockholm close behind. Copenhagen ranked #1 in Technology for Women Entrepreneurs.

The Women Entrepreneur Cities Index ranks 55 global cities based on their ability to attract and foster high-potential women entrepreneurs (HPWE) who want to do more, scale faster and thrive. Building on annual research since 2016, the growing WE Cities research ranks cities on the impact of local policies, programs, national laws and customs on women entrepreneurs and the overall economy.

As well, the Index showcases how technology connects all other aspects of the business environment – for example, markets, capital, talent and culture. In this way, the Index works as a diagnostic tool to advise policymakers on how to better support women in business and profiles global centres of commerce by their overall suitability for women who scale.

Dell WE Top Cities Ranking

Dell WE Cities Index Highlights

Here are some highlights from the 2023 Index:

With the addition of five new cities this year, the competition is getting tighter. Cities fall behind by staying still. The 2023 Dell WE Cities Index saw overall forward progress with median scores improved by 3.3 points since 2019.

The pandemic shows some regression, especially in the talent and culture pillars. The many upheavals in the world have been crowding news cycles with positive stories about women business leaders that help elevate attitudes and expectations for women.

In addition, there have been declines in the ratio of women/men executives since the 2019 index. Although women’s skill and experience has increased, by comparison, the median score of the overall talent pool available to women entrepreneurs has slightly decreased.

Compared to 2017 (the benchmark year), Delhi and Shanghai have made the largest improvements in their scores. However, when looking at cities that have made positive improvements in 2017-19 and in 2019-23, Dublin and Dubai are at the top as the two most consistent improvers.

Dell WE Top Cities Ranking

Only 3 US cities progressed their scores in both years: Portland (Oregon), Atlanta and Miami. Of the top 3 cities, only London’s score has progressed in both years. The top 10 went from having 7 of the 10 cities from the US to having 6 of the 10 from the US.

Two new cities entered the top 10 this year, one from the US and one from APAC. At least two cities from every region have progressed its scores through both index updates. Regionally, APAC has the most cities moving up in the rank with 12, followed by Europe with 9. Only three cities in North America moved up. North America had 12 cities moving down (and 2 stay the same), and APAC had only one city, Tokyo, moving down.

London: taking over the top spot
Since the inception of the WE Cities index, London has consistently ranked as one of the top three cities in its ability to attract and support high-potential women entrepreneurs. London, New York, and San Francisco have been the golden tier for women entrepreneurship since the index was created and this year London took the top spot on the podium.

London is known as a centre of excellence when it comes to talent. According to the Global Power City Index, the city ranks first in ‘magnetism’ for its power to attract people, capital, and enterprises from around the world. London displaced Boston for the top spot in the Talent pillar this year. For access to qualified personnel, London excels.

London’s high marks in the Market and Capital pillar also helped it earn the top spot. The city ranks highly in indicators related to projects on crowdfunding sites. London has the third highest number of projects and fifth highest dollars raised out of the 55 cities in the index. Crowdfunding can be an important source of funds for women entrepreneurs who still face many barriers when it comes to VC funding.

London’s top 10 ranking in the culture pillar, led by its ranking in access to mentors & role models, shows how the city’s vibrant entrepreneurial culture is enabling women to dream big. London ranks 2nd for both the number of city-level organisations for women entrepreneurs and the number of female leaders of major city business associations

Dell WE Cities Index: Top 3 Cities

A consistent top 3: London, New York and the Bay Area

These three cities have been at the top of the index since its inception. The jockeying between them shows that no city can afford to become complacent. While women entrepreneurs in these cities tend to get relatively high levels of capital, this seems to be more of a function of venture capital still being somewhat concentrated.

When we look at gender-proportionate funding, these cities do not do as well. This is something these cities should watch for as capital is starting to become more dispersed. Technology and culture are two areas where they generally have been slipping. Early signs are pointing to the enabling environment becoming a key differentiator for cities in the future as remote work and the information age mature into the digital age.

For more from Women Love Tech on female entrepreneurs, visit here.


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