Cartersville was named a 2015 Best City in the U.S. For Female Entrepreneurs to Launch their Business by data-science group GoodCall, ranking No. 78 out of 405 cities on the list.
The metrics considered when ranking each city were the number of small businesses per capita; the density of women-owned businesses; the difference between male and female educational attainment levels; year-over-year change in gross domestic product (GDP); and unemployment rates. Cartersville also ranked No. 19 out of 405 for networking potential, according to information from a press release.
Cartersville-Bartow County Chamber of Commerce Membership Coordinator Cheryl Hyde said that, whether male or female, business owners in Cartersville may find that a strong sense of community helps propel their business along. The ranking, Hyde noted, is simply a testament to the nature of the local business community, in general.
“As a former entrepreneur, who happens to be female, I’m not surprised by the designation, but it would not have crossed my mind,” she said. “I’ve found this city and county to be filled with people who want to make the community a unified front. Many times that means competitors working together or helping another entrepreneur work through the details to be successful. I don’t think anyone cares who owns the business; if it’s good for them, it’s good for the community.”
Deborah Ballew echoed Hyde’s sentiment. Ballew moved to Cartersville in 2009 and took over Meg Pie in downtown Cartersville with business partner Nancy Childs the following year in 2010. Previously a resident of Macon, Ballew said she was pleased to find that owning a business in Cartersville did not present a significant challenge. In fact, she said, the community supported her and made her feel welcome as a business owner.
“Cartersville has been the most accepting community I’ve ever seen,” said Ballew. “Owning a business made me feel like I was a part of the community.”
Ballew recently passed ownership of Meg Pie to 19-year-old Ansley Sheffield, a previous employee of the retail shop who is also a current student. How does Sheffield feel about being about being a female business owner under the age of 20 while pursuing an education? Well, she feels pretty good about it. And she isn’t hesitant to say she has big plans.
“I definitely want to expand the coffee shop. And I would love to franchise into other places,” she said of Meg Pie, noting that the experience of owning a business had been both rewarding and challenging so far. “If anyone was looking to start a business, I think Cartersville is a great place. ... And it’s definitely worth it. It’s a lot of work, and it’s your own. But it’s great.”
According to GoodCall’s analysis, about 31.9 percent of business establishments in Cartersville are currently owned by women. Alpharetta took the top spot in the rankings, boasting the exact same percentage of women-owned businesses in its city. The major difference, perhaps, was that 33.8 percent of women in Alpharetta have attained a bachelor’s degree or higher, compared to 4.2 percent in Cartersville. GoodCall stated that “A larger percentage of highly educated women shows that the community values the success of women in relative proportion to that of men.”
The full results and rankings can be found at http://www.goodcall.com/data-center/2015s-best-cities-for-women-entrepreneurs/.