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.
As I travel around the country, I am in awe of the tenacity and the indomitable spirit of minority business owners and their unwillingness to quit in the face of overwhelming odds. That’s the spirit that makes America great.
As the National Director of the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA), I am proud to be a part of this Administration and a part of an Agency where our work helps to expand the U.S. economy and create new jobs through the historically underutilized minority business community.
I have the privilege of serving on the senior staff of the Secretary of Commerce and serving as Bureau Chief of MBDA, as well as engaging with various stakeholders, members of Congress, minority-owned and operated businesses, and nonprofit organizations that support minority business development across the nation.
MBDA is a national organization with more than 46 business centers in five regions, which generates nearly $4 billion in contracts and capital for minority-owned businesses. We also create thousands of jobs for all Americans and help save thousands of existing jobs.
As I begin my second full year leading the Minority Business Development Agency, I want to take a moment to express how honored I am to work with the Agency’s network of minority business centers and our public and private sector partners on behalf of the minority business community. Minority-owned firms continue to grow and flourish despite tough economic conditions.