Black Women 'Taking Care of Business'
By Damon Owens
December 26, 2020
Black women in America are powerful, resilient, determined, hardworking and passionate…especially when it comes to business. According to the Women-Owned Business Report, African American women own more than 2 million businesses. This fact makes them the leading female minority group of business owners.
These are amazing statistics when you consider Black women in America face disparaging struggles and challenges every day. Many of those challenges and struggles are systematic. They are rooted in sexism, racism, and misogyny. These systematic problems Black women face often result in the lack of upward mobility in corporate America, leaving minimized funding options.
Many Americans today believe that blacks and whites have equality with respect to income, wealth, wages and health benefits. However, the numbers tell a much different story. Though many entrepreneurs can receive their initial funding from friends and family; that option isn't necessarily available to many African Americans. According to Yale researchers, white entrepreneurs have a huge advantage over their Black counterparts in the marketplace. The research shows "for every $100 in white family wealth, Black families hold just $5.04."
Statistically, women of color are 4.5 times more likely to start a business than other demographics. In fact, since 2007, the number of businesses owned by women of color has increased by 58%, according to the same report. In fact, researchers said that if the money earned by those businesses were matched by all women-owned businesses, they would add 4 million new jobs and $1.2 trillion in revenue to the U.S. economy.
Despite the glaring statistics, Black women in America are risk takers and are willing to reinvent the rules and turn challenges into opportunities. Because women in general historically have held the role of family caretaker, they tend to juggle stress better than men. Although Black women pursue higher education at a higher rate than other female minority groups, mentorship is still needed to help navigate the challenges of starting and growing a business.
To all my fellow Black female entrepreneurs and business owners, thank you for leading by example. Your ability to be resilient, focused and hardworking are just some of the reasons as to why I am proud to work alongside you.
Damon L. Owens is a contributing editor and the president of the East County Black Business Alliance