Local women in business say networking and mutual support help Middle Tennessee women thrive in businesses.

The greater Nashville area, including Franklin, was recently listed as the number one best metro area for women-owned businesses by the financial website WalletHub.

Female-owned businesses account for nearly a third of all privately held companies in the U.S., at more than 9.4 million according to an American Express OPEN-commissioned report. Pulling in annual revenues to the tune of $1.5 trillion and providing jobs to nearly eight million workers, women-owned business are among the fastest growing enterprises in the nation.

The Nashville-Murfreesboro-Franklin area was the highest overall rated area in the study, with a total score of 70.04. Chattanooga came in second at 69.79, with Memphis in fourth next to Columbus, Ohio at 66.99.

Chattanooga and Memphis were in the top five of highest overall new-business friendliness, with the Nashville area coming in at number three in highest average revenue of women-owned businesses.

However, the Nashville area had one of the lowest average revenue growths of women-owned businesses, something that could be attributed to using caution when starting a business.

“I personally felt more confident taking my business one step at a time,” owner of Uncle Classic Barbershops Amy Tanksley said. “Instead of jumping into the deep end, I felt comfortable going slowly and starting off really small. I meet a lot of men who are very confident with jumping off the high dive right at the gate, but I meet more women who are doing their business on the side while working a corporate job or being a mother, and they grow it more organically.”

Amy Tanksley of Uncle Classic

The growth in female-owned businesses is increasing at a rate 1.5 times the U.S. average, topping the growth rates of all but the largest, publicly-traded firms in the past 18 years. Many females in business attribute this growth to women helping other women.

“There are a lot of leadership women’s groups and networking out there that make it really supportive,” Williamson, Inc. Economic Development Manager Morgan Dent said. “It’s a really great support system.”

Among the worst cities for women-owned business were the Portland, Oregon area and the San Jose, California area. The Nashville area received 18 out of 20 points for the business climate for women section.

“The business world has been very welcoming to me, especially as a young woman,” Williamson, Inc. Director of Member Relations Rebecca Ozols said. “I was in a situation where I was told I needed to be twice as good as the guys in the room, with all these expectations. As far as the ‘Old Boys Club,’ I don’t feel that’s necessarily as limiting as it used to be.”

Tanksley said that she’s encouraged by the survey results and that women supporting other women is key to female success.

“I love having the comraderie of working with other female business owners,” Tanksley said. “As female business owners get more exposure and more ways to network with one another, we only become better.”

As many women are juggling multiple hats, managing their business, their family and personal life, Tanksley said it’s important to have female role models to lean on and look up to, a thought echoed by Ozols.

“Women are so willing to help other women,” Ozols said. “I feel like there are a ton of opportunities in business. Women are incredible.”

For more information on the WalletHub study, click here.

Samantha Hearn reports for Home Page Media Group. She can be reached via email at [email protected] or on Twitter @samanthahearn.

The greater Nashville area, including Franklin, was recently listed as the number one best metro area for women-owned businesses by the financial website WalletHub.

Female-owned businesses account for nearly a third of all privately held companies in the U.S., at more than 9.4 million according to an American Express OPEN-commissioned report. Pulling in annual revenues to the tune of $1.5 trillion and providing jobs to nearly eight million workers, women-owned business are among the fastest growing enterprises in the nation.

The Nashville-Murfreesboro-Franklin area was the highest overall rated area in the study, with a total score of 70.04. Chattanooga came in second at 69.79, with Memphis in fourth next to Columbus, Ohio at 66.99.

Chattanooga and Memphis were in the top five of highest overall new-business friendliness, with the Nashville area coming in at number three in highest average revenue of women-owned businesses.

However, the Nashville area had one of the lowest average revenue growths of women-owned businesses, something that could be attributed to using caution when starting a business.

“I personally felt more confident taking my business one step at a time,” owner of Uncle Classic Barbershops Amy Tanksley said. “Instead of jumping into the deep end, I felt comfortable going slowly and starting off really small. I meet a lot of men who are very confident with jumping off the high dive right at the gate, but I meet more women who are doing their business on the side while working a corporate job or being a mother, and they grow it more organically.”

Amy Tanksley of Uncle Classic

The growth in female-owned businesses is increasing at a rate 1.5 times the U.S. average, topping the growth rates of all but the largest, publicly-traded firms in the past 18 years. Many females in business attribute this growth to women helping other women.

“There are a lot of leadership women’s groups and networking out there that make it really supportive,” Williamson, Inc. Economic Development Manager Morgan Dent said. “It’s a really great support system.”

Among the worst cities for women-owned business were the Portland, Oregon area and the San Jose, California area. The Nashville area received 18 out of 20 points for the business climate for women section.

“The business world has been very welcoming to me, especially as a young woman,” Williamson, Inc. Director of Member Relations Rebecca Ozols said. “I was in a situation where I was told I needed to be twice as good as the guys in the room, with all these expectations. As far as the ‘Old Boys Club,’ I don’t feel that’s necessarily as limiting as it used to be.”

Tanksley said that she’s encouraged by the survey results and that women supporting other women is key to female success.

“I love having the comraderie of working with other female business owners,” Tanksley said. “As female business owners get more exposure and more ways to network with one another, we only become better.”

As many women are juggling multiple hats, managing their business, their family and personal life, Tanksley said it’s important to have female role models to lean on and look up to, a thought echoed by Ozols.

“Women are so willing to help other women,” Ozols said. “I feel like there are a ton of opportunities in business. Women are incredible.”

For more information on the WalletHub study, click here.

Samantha Hearn reports for Home Page Media Group. She can be reached via email at [email protected] or on Twitter @samanthahearn.