The study, released by the Center for Women's Business Research and sponsored by Wells Fargo, measured growth of privately-held companies with 50 percent or more ownership by women, and it ranked states overall in terms of the number of these firms, their employment and sales.
Utah ranked first in overall growth, followed by Arizona, Nevada, Idaho and New Mexico and Kentucky, which tied for fifth place.
In Utah between 1997 and 2004, the number of women-owned businesses has grown 34.7 percent, compared with 17.4 percent nationally. The number of employer firms has expanded 47.1 percent, compared with 28.1 percent nationally.
Employment has increased 70.2 percent, compared with 24.2 percent nationally. Sales grew 72.2 percent, compared with 39.3 percent for women-owned businesses nationally.
The results of the study failed to surprise the owners of several Davis County businesses falling into the above category. Kim Griesemer, owner of Impact Imaging in Kaysville, said that, first, the state of Utah makes it easier to get into business and meet regulatory requirements.
Second, women in Utah are "very entrepreneurial."
"We see a lot of cottage industry, in-home businesses," she explained. "That doesn't surprise me at all. It is easier for women to open a business and still have a family."
That has been the experience of Brenda Jorgensen at Westgate Travel in Layton.
"A lot of what they talked about is in-home business," she said. "There's a lot of need for that in Utah, such as child care. A lot of women want to stay at home, but still need income."
Women in Utah are very innovative, Jorgensen continued, opening in-home business in catering, meal preparation and the beauty industry. Many times, these in-home businesses develop into "store-front businesses."
"Utah has always been friendly to women owned businesses," she stated.