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Women Flexing Their Economic Muscle in St. Louis
ST. LOUIS, MO, (, March 30, 2014 - Women are starting 1,288 (net) new businesses per day, which is double the rate from only three years ago, according to the 2014 State of Women-Owned Businesses Report, commissioned by American Express OPEN.

The report includes detailed analysis of data from the U.S. Census Bureau and finds that during the past 17 years, the number of women-owned businesses has increased at 1.5 times the national average.

Of the 25 most populous metropolitan areas, St. Louis, MO tied with San Francisco for twenty-fifth with the lowest combined economic clout for women-owned firms - a measurement averaging rankings in growth in number, revenues and employment of women-owned businesses from 2002-2014.

"Imagine the economic impact if more of these new ventures were transformed into thriving businesses. This is why American Express OPEN remains so passionately dedicated to helping women entrepreneurs become successful business owners."

As daily business creation hits a record pace, the number of women-owned firms reached a new milestone in 2014. The fourth annual report estimates that there are more than 9.1 million women-owned businesses in the United States (compared to 8.6 million in 2013). These businesses generate more than $1.4 trillion in revenues, employ 7.9 million people and account for 30% of all enterprises.

During the past 17 years, women-owned businesses have steadily increased their influence on the U.S. economy. Since 1997 women-owned firms have increased in number by 68%, grown revenues by 72%, and added 11% more jobs.

With regards to job creation, these businesses have emerged from the recent recession as second only to publicly-traded companies in U.S. with 274,000 net new jobs since 2007.

Firms Owned by Women of Color Experience Greatest Growth

From 1997 to 2014, the number of firms owned by women of color skyrocketed 216% from just under one million to an estimated 2,934,500 (compared to 68% for all women-owned firms in the same period). Businesses owned by women of color jumped from one-in-six (17%) of all women-owned firms to one-in-three (32%) in the same time period. Growth in employment (85%) and revenues (168%) of firms owned by women of color topped growth rates of all women-owned firms (10% and 63% respectively) by wide margins.

St. Louis Has Lowest Electricity Costs Among 31 Large Cities
ST. LOUIS, MO, (, March 30, 2014 - Atlanta has the lowest transportation and factory lease costs and effective corporate income tax rate of any large U.S. city, making it the least-costly location to do business among the 31 largest U.S. metro areas (those with metro populations of 2 million or more), according to the 2014 Competitive Alternatives study by KPMG LLP.

Atlanta's low suburban and downtown office lease costs also contributed to its top ranking in the study.

Cincinnati was the second most cost-competitive location in the large-cities category, followed by Orlando, Fla., Charlotte, N.C., and San Antonio. Other locations ranked among the top 10 in the large-city category included Tampa, Fla., Cleveland, Pittsburgh, St. Louis and Phoenix.

St. Louis, at 96.6, has the lowest electricity costs among the 31 large cities, and also a relatively low effective corporate income tax rate.

"KPMG's Competitive Alternatives study, which reflects an in-depth multi-year analysis, serves as a useful benchmark for cities and provides helpful insight for companies considering sites for their business operations," said Hartley Powell, national leader in KPMG's Global Location and Expansion Services practice, which helps companies that are expanding, relocating or consolidating their facilities.

"By comparing cities on a number of significant factors that contribute to business operating costs, including labor, taxes, real estate and utilities, companies can determine which markets offer the most advantageous business environment for their business." The 2014 KPMG Competitive Alternatives study measured 26 key cost components in each market, including costs associated with taxes, labor, facilities, transportation and utilities, as they apply to seven different business-to-business service sector operations and 12 different manufacturing sector operations.

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