In the Black community, especially for descendants of slaves, entrepreneurship amounts to much more than simply calling yourself a CEO or even owning the business itself. Having your own business is more than just achieving some part of a fallacious “American Dream” that never included us.
For us, as Black-owned business owners, the power to be able to participate in the local, state and federal economy in an impactful way is the true measure of OUR dream – a dream that has long been sidelined and even turned nightmarish, through systemic racism and equality discrimination.
In a recent study, inspired by the Path to 15|55 research project, The Brookings Institution takes a deep dive into the state of Black-owned businesses in order to provide the context needed to fully understand the need for business initiatives aimed at our communities’ best interests and goals.
This article reveals that, despite what it may feel like, we have made significant strides in our pursuit of what every American, every business owner wants. We’ll look at some interesting statistics and figures as they relate to the growth of Black-owned businesses. Be encouraged.
Location, Location, Location. Where are Black-owned Businesses?
What do Texas, Georgia, New York, Washington DC, Maryland, Illinois, and Florida have in common? They are the cities with the highest number of Black-owned businesses. Out of 50 states, only five can stake claim to provable statistics.
Washington DC has the highest percentage of Black-owned businesses at 28%, with Georgia and Maryland coming in second at 20%, and Illinois third at 19%.
While the percentages may give these four states an advantage when it comes to boasting about Black-owned businesses, New York’s over 204,000 Black-owned businesses account for 10.6% of all commerce in the state. Georgia follows, then Florida, then Texas. Their percentages are not necessarily the highest based on the size of the population, but the numbers speak volumes.
Black-owned Business Industries
According to the Census Bureau, Black-owned businesses tend to be service based, although the statistics vary from state to state and region to region. One thing that remains true is that around 38% of these Black-owned businesses are in a health-related service, social resource/assistance service, repair service, maintenance/landscaping service, or personal/concierge service. Secondary categories include advertising, car lots, consulting firms, restaurants, salons, and barbershops.
Black-owned Business Employment Contribution
There are approximately 2 million total Black-owned businesses in the country. Of that number, only 107,000 have employees. The employee payroll of these 107,000 companies totals more than $23 billion annually and they employ over 900,000 people. The other 1.9 million Black-owned businesses do not have paid employees. Many use contractors or 1099 employees to avoid paying large overhead costs, insurance, and worker’s compensation.
The Black-owned Businesses to Watch
There are Black-owned businesses that generate millions – some even billions – of dollars in revenue every year, yet we really don’t hear too much about them in or outside of the Black community. Those companies are (and this list is not all-inclusive):
- ACT-1 Group is a staffing and HR management solution for the world’s leading Fortune 500 brands. Not just Black-owned, but Black female-owned; founder and CEO Jane Bryant Howroyd is changing the way the world looks at staffing with her $2.5 billion in generated revenue per year.
- Anderson-Dubose Company, located in Lordstown, Ohio, is a logistics company that provides service to some of the world’s most elite companies and corporations in the fast service industries. Founder Warren E. Anderson has generated more than $540 million in revenue for this Black-owned business with more than 400 employees.
- World Wide Technology is a technology company centrally located in Maryland Heights, Missouri, and run by its founder, David L. Steward. Designated the country’s largest Black-owned business, WWT, Inc. has grown to surpass $12 billion annually in revenue, with over 6,000 employees and a warehouse bigger than 4 million square feet.
There are over 2.5 million Black-owned businesses across the country. While most of them are small operations with a very limited number of employees, the numbers don’t lie. Black-owned businesses are generating exciting and million-dollar-worthy statistics. Get that bag, Kings and Queens!