Since last July, MBDA and the U.S. Census Bureau have been releasing data from the 2007 Survey of Business Owners describing details about the minority business community. So far we have produced fact sheets on all minority businesses , Hispanic businesses  and this month, Black History Month, we release the African American business  fact sheet .
The good news is that the number of African American-owned firms increased by 60.5 percent between 2002 and 2007 to 1.9 million firms. Employment at these firms also grew 22 percent from 754,000 to 921,000. The rate of employment growth is significantly higher than that of non-minority-owned firms which grew employment at a rate of less than one percent during the same time.
But the true economic potential of African American firms is not being unrealized. While gross receipts for all minority-owned firms are still well below the $490,000 average gross receipts for non-minority-owned firms in 2007, the average gross receipts for African American-owned firms actually fell 3 percent from $74,000 per firm to $72,000 between 2002 and 2007. The reasons for this discrepancy vary, but in essence it comes down to access to capital, access to contracts and access to new markets.
That is why MBDA is challenging minority businesses to embrace the President’s vision for “Winning the Future” and strive to out-innovate, out-educate, and out-build our global competitors. And, African Americans, because of the unique historical barriers have been masters of making a way out of no way so I am confident we will rise to the occasion.
Today’s competitive environment requires doing away with growing businesses organically – one contract at a time or staying in the safe lane with businesses that require little overhead and slow returns. Business growth in the new global economy requires thinking outside the box, expanding into new high-tech markets such as clean energy, green technology, and healthcare IT. It requires new business models of mergers, acquisitions and strategic partnerships. By growing the size of minority businesses, we can create new jobs, generate wealth, strengthen local economies and build a better tomorrow.
At MBDA our goal is to increase access and help firms grow in both organic and non-traditional ways – from strategic partnerships to joint ventures to mergers and acquisitions. We partnered with the National Urban League to expand our reach and we have been advocating for minority firms with federal agencies, state houses, Congress and Corporate America. We have also helped firms access capital, access contracts and access new markets as I reported in last month’s newsletter—more than $1.8 billion in capital, more than $1.5 billion in contracts and over 5,800 new jobs. So, please be in touch with an MBDA center or regional office. We are your strategic growth partner!