Quin Parker

Toronto is the sixth-best city in the world for female entrepreneurs to develop businesses — and ranked highest for culture — according to a study released today by the Dell Women Entrepreneur Cities Index.

The study used 77 indicators to rank the cities, including active participation of women on boards, local policies on transit and childcare, funding levels, and the percentage of investment firms with at least one female executive. Culture was included as well as markets, talent, and technology.

The survey, released at the White House’s Global Entrepreneurship Summit, ranked Toronto third for city policy and fourth overall for access to role models, and overall behind first place New York and ahead of Paris and Seattle.

Michelle McBane, director of the Investment Accelerator Fund, which is based at Toronto’s MaRS, said she had no doubt there is a direct correlation between female led venture grade technology businesses getting funding and female investors.

“Having more female VCs brings additional diversity and deal flow to a partnership. Venture investing and evaluation, particularly at the early stage, is about pattern recognition.  My frame of reference is different than my male colleagues and therefore I can spot unique opportunities.”

New York City ranked first for its access to capital for female entrepreneurs, particularly through women-to-women groups such as Female Founders Fund.

NYC’s size – a combination of a comparatively small startup community and a large business centre – also helped with access to funding and networking.

San Francisco and Silicon Valley were in second place, partly due to talent availability and operating environment.

Jim Diffley, a senior director at one of the study’s backers, research firm IHS, told Fast Company that a whole new set of metrics had to be created to produce the ranking. “This is not something that has been done before,” he said.

Toronto’s score was higher than its placement in the Compass Group’s 2015 report on global startup cities, where it fell nine spots, to 17th, from 8th the previous year.

In Toronto, 19 per cent of startups had female founders and 25 per cent had female employees, compared with averages of 24 per cent and 29 per cent for Silicon Valley.

The Top Ten

  1. New York City
  2. San Francisco Bay Area
  3. London
  4. Stockholm
  5. Singapore
  6. Toronto
  7. Washington, D.C.
  8. Sydney
  9. Paris
  10. Seattle

Cover image contains icons licensed under Creative Commons 3.0, by Gerald Wildmouser


StartUp HERE Toronto is a publishing partner of techPORTFOLIO and this article was originally published on their site.