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And the Five Worst States For Women-Owned Businesses Are...

Business woman upset

From 1997 to 2015, the number of companies in the U.S. owned by women increased by 74 percent, according to the 2015 American Express State of Women Owned Business Report. Among all the U.S. states, the three that have the slowest growth of women-owned businesses are Maine (36%), Kansas (32%), Iowa (27%), West Virginia (26%), and Alaska (14%).

Let's talk about Iowa

During those years, women-owned companies in Iowa, the third worst overall, had only a 27 percent increase. Even worse, not only does Iowa rank 49th in growth of women-owned businesses, but they rank 51st in what American Express describes as economic clout, or the combination of business growth with revenue growth and job growth.

The problem seems to be not only an environment where women do not have a strong support system, but also the fact that business employment and revenue in general has been on the downside in Iowa since 2007.

There is good news, however

The good news for Iowa is that their numbers for women-owned businesses have been on the upswing in the last few years. They may have ranked the lowest during the time period between 1997 to 2015, but lately -- between 2007 and 2015 -- Iowa doubled the amount of growth in women-owned companies over the previous five years. So maybe there is hope and a light at the end of the tunnel for women entrepreneurs who want to start their own businesses in Iowa.

And the best five states are...

According to the report, the states with the fastest growth in the number of women-owned businesses between 1997 and 2015 are:

1. Georgia (132%)
2. Texas (116%)
3. North Carolina (98%)
4. North Dakota (89%)
5. New York (89%)