The National Coalition on Black Civic Participation put out a report last month that sheds light upon the ongoing struggles of African-American women business owners.
The report, entitled “Black Women in the United States, 2014,” tracks both the progress made by black female employees and entrepreneurs and the inequality issues with which they still grapple. Though there is much to celebrate in regards to the accomplishments of black female business owners throughout history, researchers found that it is still a community of women that continues to struggle with a lack of funding and exponentially lower returns to this very day.
NCBCP officials noted that black women have always embraced entrepreneurship, calling to mind Madame CJ Walker – an African-American female entrepreneur who became the first self-made millionaire woman of any race – as an example.
Since Walker’s time, black women have taken significant strides in the world of entrepreneurship. In fact, the report indicates that, between 1997 and 2013, black women were shown to have started up more businesses than all other women.
“Starting up at six times the national average, black women-owned businesses are the fastest growing segment of the women-owned business market,” researchers stated.
However, despite their success in founding and developing businesses, black women still lag behind in key areas – including revenue generation.
The report added: “Although black women’s revenue growth has eclipsed that of all others in recent years, black women still trail all women in overall revenue generation. ”
They also trail behind other women in regards to employment growth – and by a substantial margin. Though they showed a growth of 258 percent in regards to the number of firms opened in that time period, they only experienced a 61-percent increase in employment – a significant gap not seen in women of any other race or ethnicity.
Statistics were even more dire for black women in regards to federal contracts.
“Though the data on this is sparse, if women were to obtain the goal of 5 percent of federal contracts and black women maintained their same proportion of women’s business revenue (6 percent), then it follows that black women may receive only 0.3 percent of federal contract awards, appallingly close to zero,” the report indicated.
Researchers involved in compiling data asserted that “[e]fforts to increase access for women and minority-owned businesses should measure and incentivize targeted action to increase black women’s participation in federal contracts and access to capital.”
In the meantime, officials at the NCBCP are encouraged by what African-American women have accomplished despite the dearth in support.
“Black women are still making great strides and contributing to economic development and community empowerment,” they noted in the report.
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