Black women love doing business. No, it’s true. Black women are becoming entrepreneurs at six times the rate that the average American is. Women in general are going into business at a faster pace, but it is black women who are driving the entrepreneurial train.
“As more and more African-American women obtain higher degree levels, they’re more likely to start their own businesses because they feel that they are better prepared to do so,” said Bruce James, Dean of Business at Philander Smith College.
There are more than one million African-American female business owners in the U.S. today, reports THV11, an outstanding figure, especially when you consider that African-American women make up just 13 percent of the female population in the United States.
And despite a number of challenges unique to being a woman and/or African-American, black women are thriving as business owners. “The number of companies started by African American women grew nearly 258 percent from 1997 to 2013,” reports Center for American Progress. “The number of African American women-owned businesses in 2013 was estimated at 1.1 million, comprising 42 percent of businesses owned by women of color and 49 percent of all African American-owned businesses.” And black women are employing large numbers of workers. According to the Center for American Progress, African-American women-owned businesses employed 272,000 workers. They also generated $44.9 billion in revenue in 2013. And of the top 10 fastest-growing private firms owned by black entrepreneurs from 2009 to 2012, 27 percent were owned by black women.
Despite these gains, there are still several factors holding back black, female-owned businesses. Most firms owned by black women are sole proprietorships that generate less revenue on average than other women-owned businesses, or even companies owned by black men, reports The Grio.
“Eliminating the gaps between African-American women and others is an opportunity to improve the lives of these women and their families, but it is so much more,” Farah Ahmad of the Center for American Progress stated. “It is an opportunity to strengthen our workforce and purchasing power—and that’s good for the economy, which means that it’s good for everybody. But it will happen only if we choose to seize it.”