Reported by Robert Stitt
While the economic downturn of the last eight years has been hard on everyone, not everybody has been affected equally. The old adage of making lemonade when life gives you lemons can be applied quite appropriately. What sort of lemonade was made with the lemons of financial hardship?
For many African-American women throughout the country, it was the lemonade of success.
Despite declining jobs numbers, economic stagnation, and fiscal woes, Huffington Post reports that “the number of women-owned businesses grew by 74 percent between 1997 and 2015. That’s 1.5 times the national average of business growth .”
The publication continues that “…the number of businesses specifically owned by black women is outpacing that of all women-owned firms … [having] grown by a whopping 322 percent since 1997.”
Nearly 1.3 million companies in America are owned by Black women. That’s nearly half of all businesses owned by African-Americans in the country. These firms employ hundreds of thousands of workers and account for nearly $53 billion in earnings.
On average, there were 500 new minority women-owned businesses that started up every day in 2014. Of those, 223 businesses that opened per day were African-American women-owned firms. When the revenue growth of the companies owned by Black women during this time frame is compared to companies owned by women of other minority nationalities, those owned by Black women clearly top the charts.
The states with the highest growth in women-owned firms are Georgia, Texas, North Carolina, North Dakota and New York. Those with the slowest growth are Alaska, West Virginia, Iowa, Kansas, and Maine. The states with the lowest growth are not necessarily the lowest income producers, however. The states with the lowest economic impact from women-owned firms are Iowa, Rhode Island, Maine, Vermont and Ohio.
The sectors with the greatest numbers of women-owned firms are health care and social assistance — followed by educational services, which is the fastest-growing sector, up nearly 140 percent since 2002. Women also own a small percentage of construction businesses and firms. Their economic impact in these areas is equal to or exceeds that of their male counterparts.
In a time of increasing racial unrest and growing turmoil around the county, it is great to see that some things are improving and equalizing in America. While some of the success may be attributed to the push for the Black community to support Black-owned businesses, that would hardly account for the consistent and persistent growth of Black women-owned businesses. Instead, it is likely that a segment of society was tired of the status quo and decided to make a difference.