Female founders

Houston has the No. 7 most startups owned by women

Based on Houston's number of majority female-owned startups, the city ranks as No. 7 in the country. Getty Images

While there's still a gap between men and women when it comes to, well, a lot of things in business, Houston is among the top 10 cities in the United States for women-owned startups.

In an effort to find the metropolitan areas with the most women-owned startups, Seek Capital conducted a study on the largest 50 metro areas using data from the U.S. Census Bureau Annual Survey of Entrepreneurs. In Houston, 26.6 percent of its 10,462 startups are owned by women. When compared to other cities, that percentage ranks the city at No. 17. But the number of Houston's women-owned startups — 2,783, which in total employ 9,378 people — earns it the No. 7 spot in the nation.

Across the country, 24.5 percent of the nation's startups are owned by female entrepreneurs, so — compared to the U.S. — Houston's average is slightly better. The top industry for women-owned businesses nationwide is health care and social assistance, but closer to home, that top industry for businesses owned by women is in professional, scientific, and technical services.

In the study, a "startup" is defined as a company less than two years old and "female owned" means at least 51 percent of the company is owned by women.

Austin came in No. 2 in the study for reportedly having 32.7 percent if its startups owned by women. However, Austin has only 1,433 women-owned startups, according to the report, compared to Houston's 2,783.

Earlier this year, Texas was named the best state for female entrepreneurs, according to Fit Small Business. The methodology for that report included evaluating with four equally weighted factors: general business climate and opportunity, the number of female-owned businesses, economic and financial health, and safety and well-being for women.

CategoryHoustonRankU.S. Totals
Percentage of startups that are female-owned26.6%17th24.5%
Number of female-owned startups2,7837th125,634
Employees at female-owned startups9,37810th511,939
Gross sales/receipts of females-owned startups$1-$5 billion-$56 billion
Most active industry for female entrepreneursProfessional, scientific, and technical services-Health care and social assistance

Chart via Seek Capital.

Chart via Seek Capital.

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Building Houston

 
 

As of this week, Lara Cottingham is the chief of staff at Greentown Labs. Photo via LinkedIn

The country's largest climatetech startup incubator has made a strategic new hire.

Lara Cottingham is the new chief of staff for Greentown Labs, a Boston-area company that opened in Houston earlier this year. Cottingham previously served as the city of Houston's chief sustainability officer and the chief of staff for the city's Administration and Regulatory Affairs Department for the past seven years. In her new role, Cottingham will oversee the day-to-day operations and communications for Greentown's CEO Emily Reichert, along with key stakeholder engagements and strategic initiatives for the incubator.

"Lara brings a tremendous wealth of knowledge and experience to our team from her dynamic leadership role at the City of Houston," says Reichert in a news release. "Her breadth of knowledge in sustainability, climate, and the energy transition, and her expertise in regulatory and stakeholder aspects of the energy industry, will be incredibly valuable to our team and community."

Under her leadership at the city of Houston, Cottingham was the chief author of Houston's Climate Action Plan, an initiative aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions in Houston, and getting the city to a point where it meets the Paris Agreement goal of carbon neutrality by 2050. Cottingham helped the city move to 100 percent renewable electricity, according to the release, and helped turn a 240-acre landfill into the nation's largest urban solar farm.

"In leading the Climate Action Plan, Lara helped spark Houston's leadership in what has become a global energy transition and was a passionate advocate for climate action in Houston," says Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner in the release. "While she will be missed, this new role will only strengthen our partnership with Greentown. I look forward to working with Emily, Lara, and the Greentown team to meet our climate goals and make Houston the energy capital of the future."

Before her work at the city, Cottingham worked at Hill+Knowlton Strategies' Houston office range of clients across the energy sector. Earlier in her career, she served as communications director for two congressmen in the U.S. House of Representatives. She began her work with the city in 2014.

"In working with Mayor Turner and Climate Mayors across the U.S., I saw how important partnerships are to helping cities decarbonize," says Cottingham in the release. "There is no better partner or place for climate action at work than Greentown Labs. Greentown is 100 percent committed to attracting and nurturing the energy companies of the future and making Houston the energy transition capital of the world. I'm excited to join the team and see how climatetech can help cities reach their climate goals."

Greentown Labs first announced its entrance into the Houston market last summer. The new 40,000-square-foot facility in Midtown across the street from The Ion opened its prototyping and wet lab space, offices, and community gathering areas for about 50 startup companies opened in April. Greentown was founded in 2011 in Somerville, Massachusetts, and has supported more than 400 startups, which have raised more than $1.5 billion in funding.

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