Johannesburg is one of the top cities in the world for women entrepreneurs.

Research shows that when impediments to female entrepreneurship are removed, there is a dramatic uplift in a city’s economic prospects.

Dell has announced findings of the 2017 Women Entrepreneur Cities Index (WE Cities), revealing how  50 top global cities are fostering high-potential women entrepreneurs (HPWE).

Building on 2016 WE Cities research, this study ranks cities, not countries, to show the impact of local policies, programs and characteristics in addition to national laws and customs on HPWE.

Johannesburg features at position 28, ahead of Seoul, Barcelona, Tokyo and Dublin. This is a slide from its position at 23rd in the 2016 study, reflective of tougher market conditions.

Nonetheless, the City of Gold continues to represent African cities as a hub where business is open to everyone, regardless of their gender or creed.

“Globally, women’s entrepreneurship rates are growing more than 10% 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,” says Karen Quintos, executive vice-president 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.”

It is in the world’s best interest that women entrepreneurs everywhere thrive.

“The WE Cities can be used as a diagnostic tool to help ensure that lawmakers are enabling women entrepreneurs to succeed,” says 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 at a humanity level as we develop an ecosystem where all entrepreneurs can thrive regardless of gender.”

Building on the past five years of Dell’ research on HPWE, five important categories of city characteristics were identified: capital, technology, talent, culture and markets. These pillars were organised into two groups – operating environment and enabling environment.

The overall rating has 72 indicators, and 45 of these, nearly two-thirds, have a gender-based component. Individual indicators were weighted based on four criteria: relevance, quality of underlying data, uniqueness in the index and gender component.

The 50 cities were ranked as follows:

1 New York

2 Bay Area

3 London

4 Boston

5 Stockholm

6 Los Angeles

7 Washington, DC

8 Singapore

9 Toronto

10 Seattle

11 Sydney

12 Paris

13 Chicago

14 Minneapolis

15 Austin

16 Hong Kong

17 Melbourne

18 Atlanta

19 Amsterdam

20 Portland (OR)

21 Berlin

22 Taipei

23 Pittsburg

24 Tel Aviv

25 Copenhagen

26 Vancouver

27 Houston

28 Johannesburg

29 Barcelona

30 Seoul

31 Munich

32 Miami/Ft. Lauderdale

33 Nairobi

34 Dublin

35 Warsaw

36 Belfast

37 Milan

38 Beijing

39 Tokyo

40 Bangalore

41 Kuala Lumpur

42 Sao Paulo

43 Dubai

44 Shanghai

45 Mexico City

46 Lima

47 Guadalajara

48 Istanbul

49 Delhi

50 Jakarta

While New York City ranked number one, its total score out of 100 was 62.9, leaving considerable room for improvement.