Dell Women’s Entrepreneur Network (DWEN), a global network by Dell Technologies to advance and support women entrepreneurs, announced the findings of its 2023 Women Entrepreneur Cities (WE Cities) Index. The report ranks 55 global cities based on their ability to attract and foster high-potential women entrepreneurs (HPWE) who want to start and scale a business. This year’s index has 90 indicators across two categories and 5 pillars including an equality sub-pillar.
Delhi, Bengaluru, and Mumbai are featured among the top 50 in this list, indicating these cities provide a beneficial business environment for women entrepreneurs. Delhi has demonstrated significant improvement over its score in 2017 by offering a skilled workforce and cost benefits, making it a preferred city for women-led businesses. Mumbai is a new entrant to this list and Bengaluru is one of the top 10 cities in the world, which provides accessibility and inclusive policies.
Swati Mishra, Director, and GM, Small Businesses, Dell Technologies India said, “The WE Cities report not only illustrates the rise of women entrepreneurs in India but also addresses the gaps in access to resources and opportunities to truly unleash their full potential. The pandemic has tightened the correlation between talent and technology. Women entrepreneurs view technology skills as vital but compete with understanding to be able to navigate through the digital age. The report establishes technology’s inclusive role to connect all aspects of business and Dell Technologies is committed to supporting and advancing women entrepreneurs around the world to network, build capabilities, and scale their businesses.”
Key elements of this year’s WE Cities research include:
Delhi has the highest momentum score compared to 2017, the base year. Momentum score provides insights into how a city is progressing compared to its history, and that of others. Factors such as growing population, low cost of living, and availability of skilled workforce have resulted in significant improvement for Delhi’s score.
Delhi also benefits from a skilled workforce, ranking 6th in the share of the population with tertiary education. The talent pool available across genders also adds to the potential for future growth. Delhi has the vision to become a “startup destination for the world” by 2030 with its recent Delhi Startup policy.
Some potential areas of improvement include increasing the labor force participation rate among women which stands at 16.1 percent and is significantly lower than many global cities. Without greater representation in the workforce, the barriers for women in Delhi seeking to start and scale a business will remain high. Delhi’s first-place ranking overall and in terms of momentum respectively highlight the importance of developing the talent pool and ability to leverage access to a qualified workforce.
Bengaluru is ranked fifth in the top ten operating environments list.This is the first time Bengaluru has appeared on this list, ahead of Paris and Washington DC, and other cities. Bengaluru provides market size, cost, access, and policies that can benefit and accelerate the growth of women entrepreneurs. Bengaluru has a momentum score of 58.5 and falls under the “Cities on the radar” category of progress. This category is a list of 13 up-and-coming cities that have the potential to host some of the cities’ women entrepreneurs. Delhi is also a part of this list.
Along with Montpellier, Auckland, Wellington, and Hamburg, Mumbai has also been inducted into the WE Cities Index.
APAC has also dominated this year’s momentum scores while leading in technology.
Of the 55 cities, 12 cities in the WE Cities Index are from the Asia Pacific region. These include Sydney (Rank 9), Melbourne (Rank 12), and Singapore (Rank 22) among others. Sydney is a newcomer to the list of top 10 cities and ranks in the top 10 for talent, capital, and culture. Beijing along with Copenhagen is a leader in tech scores, making these cities a tech hub for women-led businesses. Melbourne and Tokyo feature as one of the top performers in culture and market respectively. Interestingly, APAC has the most cities indicating again that technology may be a great equalizer
Overall Momentum Scoring – Highlighting the most improved cities since 2017
The 2023 WE Cities Index, including its companion study, the Women Entrepreneurs & Tech Deep Dive Report, reveal some fascinating insights. With the addition of five new cities this year, the competition is getting tighter.
The pandemic shows some regression, especially in the talent and culture pillars. There has been a decline in the ratio of female-to-male executives since the 2019 index. Although women’s skills and experience have increased, by comparison, the median score of the overall talent pool available to women entrepreneurs has slightly decreased.
Compared to 2017, Delhi and Shanghai have made the largest improvements in their scores. However, when looking at cities that have made positive improvements from 2017 to 2019 and from 2019 to 2023, Dublin and Dubai are the top two most consistent improvers.
As 5G standards and investments continue to roll out, the connectedness of cities is a major competitive advantage. Strong mobile coverage that gives women entrepreneurs, juggling many commitments, the flexibility to run their business anywhere is especially critical. Interestingly, with technology expanding market opportunities, it can potentially be a substitute for market size as the traditional physical marketplace can be expanded with the digital marketplace.