Nation's Minority Women-Owned Businesses on the Rise

Article excerpt

In the last decade, the growth of women-owned firms in our country has grown by leaps and bounds. U.S. Census Bureau statistics show women are starting businesses at twice the rate of all businesses and staying in business longer than other businesses.

A new report from the Center for Women's Business Research shows that among women business owners, businesses owned by women of color are growing at rates exceeding all women-owned firms and the national average.

The center projects that as of 2002, there will be an estimated 1.2 million businesses owned by women of color in the United States, employing more than 822,000 people and generating $100.6 billion in sales. Between 1997 and 2002, the center estimates that the number of privately held, majority-owned minority women-owned firms will have grown by 31.5 percent, compared to 14.3 percent among all women- owned firms, 29.7 percent among all minority-owned firms, and 6.8 percent among all U.S. firms. Sponsored by Kauffman Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership, the center's report, "Minority Women- Owned Businesses in the United States, 2002" analyzes data published by the U.S. Bureau of the Census and presents the most up-to-date information currently available on majority-owned (51 percent ownership or more), privately held firms owned by women of color in the United States.

As of 2002, the center estimates that there are 470,344 Hispanic women-owned firms, 365,110 African-American women-owned firms, 358,503 firms owned by women of Asian or Pacific Islander heritage, and 77,483 firms owned by women of Native American or Alaska Native heritage. Between 1997 and 2002, the number of these firms will have grown by 39.3 percent, 16.7 percent, 44.6 percent, and 44.6 percent, respectively.

"There has been growth in women's entrepreneurship among every major ethnic group," said Jasmin Rodriguez, manager of women's initiatives for Kauffman Center. "This is a positive sign, not only for these women business owners but for the United States as a whole. Through our research we've learned that greater participation in entrepreneurship among people from a variety of backgrounds can play an important role in facilitating economic growth."

Businesses owned by women of color represent nearly one-third of all of the firms owned by people of color, according to the report. In comparison, all majority-owned, privately held women-owned firms comprise 28 percent of all U.S. businesses. Businesses owned by women of color now represent 20 percent of all women-owned firms, meaning that one in five women-owned firms is owned by a woman or women of color. …