Immigrant and Minority Entrepreneurship: The Continuous Rebirth of American Communities

By John Sibley Butler; George Kozmetsky | Go to book overview

1
African American
Entrepreneurship:
The View from the 1910
Census

Margaret Levenstein

Despite limited study in recent years, entrepreneurship plays a crucial role in economic growth, both in society at large and within specific communities.1 In a capitalist market economy, firms initiate and coordinate a wide range of ongoing economic activity and have increasingly been the site of innovation. The formation and nurturing of firms, of organizations that can create and sustain economic activity, is the most basic of entrepreneurial activities. Understanding who forms businesses and why they succeed or fail should be of great importance to economists. Understanding how those processes have changed over time should again be an important area of study for economic historians.

Successful entrepreneurs often rely on networks for the provision of information and resources that give them a competitive advantage— privileged access to information about product markets, sources of labor or capital, production technology, and management organization. Sometimes these networks are based on family and extended kinship. Other networks are based on common racial, ethnic, or religious identification. Historians and sociologists have focused on these “non

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