Sally C. Pipes - Contributor
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C. Pipes is President and CEO, Pacific
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African-American Women Tilt Toward Entrepreneurship...
[Sally C. Pipes] 2/11/04
A new report from the National Women's Business Council will
help dispel the persistent stereotypes of African-American women
as helpless victims unable to advance without help from the government.
According to "African-American Women and Entrepreneurship," these
women own 365,110 businesses nationwide, employing 200,000 people
and generating nearly $14 billion in sales. The number of these
firms has increased 17 percent between 1997 and 2002, with a
sales increase of seven percent. More than one-third of all firms
owned by African Americans are owned by women, employing 25 percent
of the workers and generating 15 percent of the sales.
The number of businesses owned by African-American women represents
six percent of all privately held firms in the United States
that are majority-owned by women. Those are impressive numbers,
but there is more to the story.
the study found, were more likely to start their firms alone,
and to be the sole owner. The study
also found that, in the fastest growing firms, 80 percent of
the owners started the business out of a desire "to exercise
more control over their own destiny." Other frequently cited
goals included using management expertise and education, building
personal wealth, serving the community, and overcoming racial
The study shows that
barriers do still exist, with 47 percent of African-American
women encountering difficulties in obtaining
financing for their businesses, compared to 28 percent of whites,
27 percent of Hispanics, and 22 percent of Asian women business
owners. Still, the study found that "African-American women
have a higher propensity for entrepreneurship than white or Hispanic
women, who are about equally as likely to attempt to start a
There are a number of reasons why this report should come as
good news. Women who run profitable businesses are not likely
to be dependent on men, something that feminists should cheer
about. They are also less dependent on government, a significant
achievement although not one that receives as much attention
from mainstream feminists. Indeed, though the report doesn't
show it, women business owners are likely to find government
a hindrance rather than a help, primarily in the form of regulation.
Through their example, they inspire others and dispel political
correctness. As the report shows, the number of businesses owned
by African-American women is impressive and growing. And it demolishes
the myth that these women are helpless victims.
The report also shows that businesses owned by African-American
women are concentrated in California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois,
Maryland, Michigan, New York, North Carolina, Texas, and Virginia.
Certainly, one would like to see a broader profile of states.
Policymakers and legislators,
at the national, state, and local level, can help by easing
regulation, lowering taxes, and generally
making it easier for all women to start and maintain a business.
The message from government should not be "depend on us" but "you
go, girl." The entire nation will be the better for it.
2004 Pacific Research Institute