Tel Aviv ranked middle of female entrepreneur-friendly cities – survey

Israel’s startup hub can do more to boost women in top management, Dell study says; New York, Bay Area, London are best

Shoshanna Solomon was The Times of Israel's Startups and Business reporter

Dell's infographic for cities enabling women entrepreneurs (Courtesy)
Dell's infographic for cities enabling women entrepreneurs (Courtesy)

New York City, the Bay Area, London, Boston and Stockholm are the five global urban areas best able to attract and foster the growth of women-owned firms, Dell said this week at its women entrepreneur summit. Tel Aviv came in 24th, one above Copenhagen and just below Pittsburgh, out of the 50 cities ranked by the multinational computer firm.

Dell’s study ranks cities based on the impact of local policies, programs and characteristics in addition to national laws and customs.

The findings show that “when impediments to female entrepreneurship are removed, there is a dramatic uplift in a city’s economic prospects,” Dell said in a statement.

The cities were rated on five characteristics: capital, technology, talent, culture and markets.

As far as the eye can see: the view from the Azrieli observatory
As far as the eye can see: the Tel Aviv view from the Azrieli observatory (Courtesy)

“Globally, women’s entrepreneurship rates are growing more than 10 percent each year. In fact, women are as likely or more likely than men to start businesses in many markets. However, financial, cultural and political barriers can limit the success of these businesses,” said Karen Quintos, EVP and chief customer officer at Dell. “By arming city leaders and policymakers with data-driven research and clear calls to action, we can collectively improve the landscape for high-potential women entrepreneurs, which in turn dramatically lifts a city’s economic prospects – as what is good for women is good for the economy.”

Of the top 10 cities overall, six are in the US, two are in Europe, one is in Canada and one is in Asia. Jakarta was the last on the list of the 50 cities ranked, just below Delhi (49th) and Istanbul (48th).

While Tel Aviv’s overall rating was 24, it ranked 15th for the value of VC funds going to businesses with at least 25 percent female executives and ninth for the number of female founder and executives of companies in a second funding round or higher. Tel Aviv also did especially well in gender proportion of funding, especially in the number of investment companies with at least one female executive.

Dr. Orna Berry (Photo credti: Courtesy)
Dr. Orna Berry (Courtesy)

“Israel’s education system still has a long way to go to entrench a culture and create tools to strengthen women from a young age and make them dare and aspire to the highest management posts,” said Orna Berry, vice president of Dell EMC and general manager of the Israel Center of Excellence. “In the high-tech industry, we see more and more women in top positions, but even so there aren’t enough leading high-tech organizations or CEOs, and this must change.”

Tel Aviv’s ranking in the Dell index is a call for the government and industry to do more to promote women, she said.

Though it has a reputation as a hub for high-tech startups, Tel Aviv can improve its access to technology for women, the study said, and the city fails to create a woman talent pool. The data shows that the city falls short in the proportion of women with MBAs and the proportion of female faculty in top business schools; there is also a lack of business management courses specifically for women.

Improving women’s skills and experience is also a culture issue, where Tel Aviv can improve by having more women leaders head local business organizations, the study said.

“It is in the world’s best interest that women entrepreneurs everywhere thrive. The WE Cities Index can be used as a diagnostic tool to help ensure that lawmakers are enabling women entrepreneurs to succeed,” said Elizabeth Gore, entrepreneur-in-residence at Dell. “Each of the cities on this list can learn from one another and encourage political change to attract and support women entrepreneurs. The resulting change will be felt at not just a city level, but around the world as we develop an ecosystem where all entrepreneurs can thrive regardless of gender.”

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