Minnesota is the fourth-best place for women entrepreneurs, according to an annual study by Fundera, the online credit matchmaker for small businesses.

Meredith Wood, a Fundera vice president, said the state’s high score was based on relatively high educational achievement by women, which plays to economic success; a five-year average revenue growth rate of 32 percent per business; high levels of interaction with U.S. Small Business Administration programs, and a low overall unemployment rate of 4 percent.

Minnesota, however, lagged in that only 14.3 percent of state businesses are owned by women with paid employees, Fundera said.

Nationally, America is home to 11.3 million female-owned businesses that employ 9 million-plus workers, constituting more than a third of all American businesses.

Less populous states actually scored highest in the Fundera study.

North Dakota and South Dakota placed in first and second place, respectively. Both had rapid growth rates over the last five years of women-owned businesses. Wood interpreted that to high levels of support for small entrepreneurs in rural communities and the fact that businesses grow fastest from a small base.

Hawaii was No. 3 and Maryland No. 4.  

New York City-based Fundera (www.fundera.com) with about 50 employees, was started in 2014 by GroupMe cofounder Jared Hecht, backed by intuitional investors. Fundera works as a match-maker for small business, often frozen out of commercial lending in the earlier years, and takes a fee from the financier that makes the loan.

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