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Just a few years ago the “side hustle” was all the rage (and still is) as women were finding unique ways to make money outside of their main “9-5” while also incorporating their passions. Now, more and more African American women are not just taking a side hustle but turning their business savvy into their main pursuits.

Black women business owners have risen 322 percent in less than 20 years compared to a 40 percent growth for non-minority women. These numbers come from the 2015 State of Women-Owned Businesses Report. The report, commissioned by American Express, set out to show the growing numbers of diversity among entrepreneurs. Asian American women business owners grew by 195 percent while Latina women grew by 224 percent.

But this does not mean the hard work is over as minority women business owners are still a smaller group than non-minority owners when looking at the complete picture of women entrepreneurs. And while we still have a ways to go, the report showed that minority-owned businesses are outpacing other firms in economic influence and growth.

“We attribute the growth in women-owned firms to the lack of fair pay, fair promotion, and family-friendly policies found in corporate America,” CEO of the U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce Margot Dorfman told Fortune. “Women of color, when you look at the statistics, are impacted more significantly by all of the negative factors that women face. It’s not surprising that they have chosen to invest in themselves,” she continued.

In 1997, there were less than 1 million minority-owned businesses run by women and now in 2015 that number has skyrocketed pass 3 million.

And what exactly are all of these new businesses focused on? The industries that have witnessed the most growth include: education services (up 139 percent), administration and waste services (up 73 percent), arts/ entertainment/recreation (up 59 percent), and health care and social assistance (up 53 percent).

Overall, the number of women-owned businesses has increased by 74 percent since 20o2 and the states that have encountered the most growth include North Carolina, Georgia, Texas, New York and North Dakota as more women set up shop.

Cheers to the go-getters and changing the entrepreneurial landscape!




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