New York City tops Forbes magazine’s list of “the 15 Best Cities for Female Entrepreneurs.” Why? It leads the rest of the country in both number (143) of and dollar value ($42,281,500) of loans backed by the Small Business Administration granted to women in the last year.

Moving up to No. 2 on the 2012 list is Houston. According to 2012 State of Women-Owned Business Report (commissioned by American Express OPEN), Texas is in the top fastest-growing states for female led firms (with Georgia, Nevada, North Carolina and Mississippi keeping it company), Forbes says. That Report also finds that as of 2012, there are more than 8.3 million women-owned businesses in the United States, generating nearly $1.3 trillion in revenue and employing nearly 7.7 million people.

States with the lowest growth in number of women-owned businesses between 1997 and 2012, according to the State of Women-Owned Business Report, are Alaska (11%), Iowa (21%), West Virginia (22%), Kansas (25%) and Ohio (25%).

Read the complete 2012 State of Women-Owned Business Report and find out which other cities are best for female entrepreneurs. Then join the conversation. Share your experiences in building a business. What did you learn you lacked? What helped you most?

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