A recent study published by Jared Beilby with Merchant Maverick recently ranked Texas #6 on its list of 10 Best States for Women-Led Startups.

We're an economic powerhouse, so it’s not a shock to see the Lone Star State high up in these rankings. Texas has the fifth-most employees working at firms run by women at 20.1%. The state has also received $365 billion in VC funding for women-led startups in the past five years, a number that ranks seventh overall. Texas’ lack of a state income tax doesn’t hurt, either.

Still, Texas falls somewhat short in engaging women entrepreneurs. The study found that just 1.27% of all women in the state run their own business , and the $55,907 average income for self-employed women business owners in Texas ranks a lowly 31st.

Big Ced, Townsquare Media

Monday evening, I had the pleasure of sitting down with Yonneque Thompson-Zeno, owner and founder of Ashes Cigar Lounge in Austin.

Big Ced, Townsquare Media

She started smoking cigars three years ago, and was introduced to cigars by her cousin one evening out on the town in Austin. After trying a Groovy Blue cigar, her stogie journey began.

Despite the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Yonneque  was able to open up her lounge on May 11th of 2020, and her business is doing pretty well for her. The lounge is inviting to both male and female clients, and she has wide aray of cigars for beginners as well as for the cigar aficionados out there.

Her lounge is open to the public Monday through Sunday, with a private area for members of the lounge, of which I am proud member.

Big Ced, Townsquare Media

Her establishment is the first African-American, female owned cigar lounge in Austin, Texas.

With news of Texas' ranking among the best states for female led start-ups, I had to give praise to a woman I know who's not only operated a successful business, but has kept it going strong during one of the most tumultuous times for businesses in our nation's history.

You go, girl!

Do you know a woman who's a local business owner? Give her some praise in the comments.