Black-owned businesses comprise one of the City of Atlanta’s most important resources. According to a survey conducted by the author in 1995, these businesses currently generate 7,430 jobs in the city (which is 5.9 percent of the City’s workforce) and about 15,000 jobs in the metropolitan area. At their current growth rate, these businesses will employ 24,289 City workers by the year 2010. This employment capacity could accommodate 15 percent of the city’s 2010 black workforce, estimated to be 162,196. 1 If future conditions simulate present conditions, 82 percent of the jobs created by black-owned businesses will go to blacks.
The growth rate of black-owned businesses in the metropolitan area is almost twice that of businesses located in the city. But even if the current metro rate tapers from 14.7 percent to 10 percent, by the year 2010 there should be about 130,000 black-owned businesses employing close to 60,000 workers. 2 This indicates that increasing the number of black-owned businesses can be an effective strategy for reducing the racial disparity in unemployment.
In 1995, the author mailed a survey to 1,412 minority and women-owned businesses located in the Atlanta metropolitan area. Three hundred and sixteen firms responded, including 224 black-owned businesses. The results, which are discussed in detail later in this chapter, indicate that a new black entrepreneur has emerged. These new entrepreneurs are typically well educated, young, have managerial and executive experience, and operate in more diversified fast-growing industries. Their businesses and professional backgrounds are very different from the old “black bourgeoisie” that E. Franklin Frazier criticized for being “mom and pop” proprietors. 3 Three decades ago most successful black entrepreneurs served a