The best place for female entrepreneurs to soar is not tech-saturated California or New York — it's Texas, according to a recent study.
Texas came in at the top for entrepreneurial women in the study touting a lack of corporate and income taxes, healthy business and economic environment, good living standards, women's health care and a "high rate" of startup growth.
Texas jumped to No. 1 from eighth place in a similar study conducted the previous year. The jump can be explained by the new study taking into account health and safety for women in each state, according to the company behind the study,
The Lone Star State's opportunities for preventive health care and female-friendly business culture helped propel it to the top. When entrepreneurial women are looking for a place to start their businesses, they're looking for more than just a locale with a concentration of other women-owned businesses, said Jeff Steen of FitSmallBusiness.com.
An index created by the Kauffman Foundation, a Kansas City-based nonprofit that promotes entrepreneurship, ranks Texas fifth in the country for the rate at which startups are growing.
For Dallas Women Entrepreneurs founder Petya Edwards, these statistics are nothing new.
Edwards sees the low cost of living and tax rates in Texas as an obvious boon for women as well as being part of the reason she recently expanded her support network for female entrepreneurs to cities like Austin and San Antonio.
"There are so many opportunities now that women have to focus on finding the right ones," she said. It takes groups like hers, one of the many institutions in the state the study's authors touted as an asset for Texas, to help women find those opportunities.
As women close the gap in the entrepreneurial sphere, she sees a need to punch up their support and confidence. "Although there are still some challenges that people face, it is going the right direction for women," Edwards said.
Edwards actually sees an emerging challenge for female entrepreneurs in the growing anti-immigrant sentiment in states including Texas.
Having immigrated to the U.S. from Bulgaria nearly a decade ago, she says she's been underestimated because her English isn’t perfect. "People think I’m not that smart. It’s just perceptions people have. But I don’t take this personally," she said, adding that she enjoys surprising those who underestimate her.
More than 11 million businesses in the U.S. are owned by women. In Texas, women-owned firms with employees account for about 20 percent of the state total and more than 5 percent of annual payrolls, according to the U.S. Census Bureau's 2014 survey data.
Ohio, Minnesota, Washington and Alabama came in just behind Texas.