HR Excellence Awards 2023 Singapore
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Ranking: The best cities for women entrepreneurs in APAC

Cities in the Asia Pacific region are improving alongside all other cities globally in their ability to foster growth for women entrepreneurs.

According to Dell's 2019 Women Entrepreneur Cities (WE Cities) Index, of the five pillars considered, the region recorded the biggest improvement in the talent pillar. Apart from that, significant improvement was seen in the technology pillar, with the region recording the most improvement in that area globally.

The median WE Cities score by APAC region improved by a score of 0.7, compared to 3 in Europe and 0.9 in North America. APAC cities mainly fell behind in the pillars for culture and markets.

Australian cities, Sydney and Melbourne, topped the ranking in the APAC region, with Singapore, Hong Kong, and Taipei rounding up the top five. Among the 13 APAC cities in the ranking, Kuala Lumpur came in 10th while Jakarta came in 12th.

Zooming in on Singapore, talent and technology are the city's strongest pillars, having made significant improvement in both. Among the 50 global cities, Singapore moved from 17th to 11th place in 2019 for talent and moving from 10th to 6th place in technology. When it comes to forecasted economic growth rate over the next five years, Singapore came in second in improvements.

Other key findings for the city include:

  • The talent pillar benefitted from increasing its top school and business school rankings. It also increased its pool of professionals needed to help scale businesses.
  • A high cost of living, lack of accelerators, and relatively few female board members, placed Singapore in 47th place globally in the markets pillar.
  • Singapore ranked 25th globally in the capital pillar. Despite an increase in venture capital funding to female entrepreneurs, it is still relatively light compared with other cities. At the same time, women in Singapore saw less crowdfunding. The city also had fewer female founders and a slight decline in high net worth individuals.
  • When it comes to culture, Singapore's score was relatively low (28th globally) due to fewer female role models or leaders amongst other factors. That said, the city is more advanced than most of its neighbours in the region in actively addressing gender parity issues.

Top 10 cities for women entrepreneurs in APAC

#1 SydneyGlobal rank: 12

#2 MelbourneGlobal rank: 13

#3 SingaporeGlobal rank: 21

#4 Hong KongGlobal rank: 23

#5 TaipeiGlobal rank: 26

#6 TokyoGlobal rank: 34

#7 BeijingGlobal rank: 38

#8 SeoulGlobal rank: 41

#9 BangaloreGlobal rank: 43

#10 Kuala LumpurGlobal rank: 44

"When more women work, economies grow. Technology is helping to drive this progress as a gender-neutral enabler, and helps create a level playing field. Whilst all cities in the Index have improved, the crucial factor is the consistency of this improvement across the different factors that impact women entrepreneurs’ success," said Amit Midha, president of Asia Pacific & Japan, Global Digital Cities at Dell Technologies.


For the 2019 Women Entrepreneur Cities (WE Cities) Index, Dell partnered with IHS Markit to research and rank 50 cities on five important characteristics, including access to capital, technology, talent, culture, and markets. These pillars were organised into two groups — operating environment and enabling environment. The overall rating is based on 71 indicators; 45 of which 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.

Infographic / Dell

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