BOWIE – The city of Bowie is working to be more effective in its economic development resourcefulness by making women owned businesses and minority owned businesses a priority. The data-science group called GoodCall recently ranked Bowie No. 50 out of 405 as one of the best cities in the United States for female entrepreneurs to […]
BOWIE – The city of Bowie is working to be more effective in its economic development resourcefulness by making women owned businesses and minority owned businesses a priority.
The data-science group called GoodCall recently ranked Bowie No. 50 out of 405 as one of the best cities in the United States for female entrepreneurs to launch their business. Bowie outranked Laurel, which placed at No. 69.
On Aug. 19, GoodCall ranked the cities in the new 2015 Best Cities for Women Entrepreneurs report. The 405 cities were evaluated on the following metrics: core economic strength, business climate for women, and professional networking potential female education values.
“Bowie offers women entrepreneurs a healthy economy, strong educational values, and a large percentage of women-owned businesses. About 33 percent of the city’s establishments are owned by women, higher than the national average and highest on our list,” says Eppie Vojt, founder of GoodCall. “These components make Bowie a great place for any entrepreneur to start a business.”
The city of Bowie led a group of public and private sector partners to invest in the development of practical business support, targeted to female entrepreneurs through the business incubation program known as the Bowie Business Innovation Center (Bowie BIC). This is the only business incubation program in the state of Maryland that is co-located with a Women’s Business Center.
“Bowie should be at the top of every female entrepreneur’s list of cities, where they can find the community, business culture and targeted business support to drive the success of their businesses,” says Lisa S. Smith, executive director of the Bowie Business Innovation Center. “Women-owned businesses are a distinct community in Bowie and have the highest concentration of women-owned businesses in communities listed in the GoodCall.”
The GoodCall research team analyzes official government data to develop reports that help students, recent graduates and financial consumers make decisions about their careers, college choices and more. The report also features advice for women entrepreneurs provided by national experts from the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of Women’s Business Ownership, The National Women’s Business Council, and the American Association of University Women.
“Women-owned businesses are growing three times faster than their counterparts, yet the federal government has not achieved its goal of awarding five percent of federal contracts to women. By granting contracting officers, this new authority to award sole-source contracts to women-owned businesses, SBA is taking a major step forward in leveling the playing field and supporting our country’s dynamic female entrepreneurs,” said Small Business Administrator (SBA) Maria Contreras-Sweet.
Local business owners are not surprised by the city’s GoodCall ranking due to the continuous support and access to amenities, especially at the Bowie BIC.
“I think Bowie was ranked the way it was because you’ve got the whole ecosystem that’s there,” said Sonya Hopson, president and CEO of the Sage Services Group. “The city of Bowie has always been very focused on women owned businesses and minority owned businesses. The Bowie chamber of commerce has always done workshops and scholarships to help promote the growth of women owned businesses and they have the partnership with the bankers and funders that ensure the necessary capital. Compound that with the Bowie BIC, which now is a new satellite center for business area of Maryland, and that is the reason people are encouraged to do it. Because they are going to get this ongoing support and these three gears are constantly working together to move you forward.”
Bowie BIC’s corporate partners have also supported innovative special programming for women-owned businesses.
“The economic development of the city of Bowie helped to bring the incubator to the community. I became a member of the Bowie BIC and the next thing I know I have access to mentors for government contracting, attorneys, accountants, small business advisers, and a minority affairs mentor as part of being an member of the Bowie BIC,” said Bonnie Branham, president of Chesapeake Healthcare Recovery Group LLC.
“We are given an office. We have access to the beautiful campus of Bowie. We can use the conference rooms and it’s a wonderful place. It has changed my life because I now have a state of Maryland contract, and while most people are looking at retirement, I’m able to accomplish owning my own business.”
Both business owners agreed that being close to Annapolis, Baltimore and Washington D.C. also makes Bowie an ideal location.