Creating Jobs? Employment in Women-Owned Minority Businesses

By Smith-Hunter, Andrea E.; Boyd, Robert L. | Journal of Business and Entrepreneurship, October 2004 | Go to article overview

Creating Jobs? Employment in Women-Owned Minority Businesses

Smith-Hunter, Andrea E., Boyd, Robert L., Journal of Business and Entrepreneurship


The topic of employment is central in both scholarly and public policy discussions of minority enterprise, yet few studies have examined the creation of jobs in businesses owned by minority women. We address this oversight by analyzing Dun and Bradstreet data on businesses owned by Asian, Hispanic, and Black women, focusing on the relationship between number of employees (the dependent variable) and sale volume and net worth (the explanatory variables). Our results show that this relationship is positive and is stronger for businesses owned by Asian and Hispanic women than for businesses owned by Black women. We suspect that the difference exists because the firms of Asian and Hispanic women are situated in ethnic enclaves that bolster the job creation capacity of these businesses. In conclusion, we recommend that researchers view minority women business owners as entrepreneurs who can generate jobs, not merely as "survivalists " who become self-employed only for the purpose of escaping gender discrimination in the workforce.


One of the strongest arguments for promoting minority enterprise is that minority-owned businesses will generate employment. Rooted in the economic development proposals of the 1960s (notably, "black capitalism"), this argument has been reinvigorated by claims that immigrant entrepreneurs often create jobs for fellow newcomers, providing them with a foothold in the labor market (Kasarda, 1995; Light & Gold, 2000). It has even been suggested that employment in businesses owned by Asians and Hispanics offers co-ethnics an escape route from discrimination and a road to upward social mobility (Wilson & Portes, 1980; Zhou & Logan, 1989). These assertions, however, have been challenged. Some critics have argued persuasively that minority-owned businesses, particularly those owned by Blacks, tend to be small and undercapitalized and thus have little potential to substantially increase the number of jobs (Brimmer & Terrell, 1971) or opportunities for socioeconomic advancement (Bates, 1997; Sanders & Nee, 1987). Nonetheless, small-businesses do create the majority of new jobs (Birch, 1987), so it is reasonable to surmise that viable businesses owned by minorities can expand employment, and that efforts to support such firms can, in a modest way, benefit minority groups and the whole society (Butler, 1991; Light & Rosenstein, 1995).

The argument that minority-owned businesses can provide jobs takes on a new dimension when one considers the special case of women-owned minority businesses. Minority women have been characterized as "doubly disadvantaged" in the labor force, owing to the hardships caused by racism and sexism (Smith & Tienda, 1988). Yet, the number of these women who own businesses is growing, not only because of the general progress of minority women, which has improved their endowments of both human and financial capital, but also because of the pressing need that these women face to locate alternatives to traditional careers (i.e., to break the "glass ceiling"). The contribution of minority women to the expansion of the entrepreneurial sector has, accordingly, received widespread attention (e.g., Light & Gold, 2000; Loscocco & Robinson, 1991; Smith-Hunter, 2003; Westwood & Bhachu, 1988). However, despite this rising interest, few studies have examined job creation by women-owned minority businesses. This oversight is remarkable, for employment growth has been a central topic in research on minority enterprise, and the inroads that minority women are making into the economy - and into the small-business realm, in particular - are recognized as societal trends that are eminently deserving of scholarly investigation. Perhaps this issue has been neglected because of the tendency of many researchers to view self-employed minority women only as "survivalist entrepreneurs" - that is, proprietors of marginal establishments, such as beauty salons, who are seeking relief from labor market disadvantage (e. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • A full archive of books and articles related to this one
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Cite this article

Cited article

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)


1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25,

Cited article

Creating Jobs? Employment in Women-Owned Minority Businesses


Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25,

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

    Already a member? Log in now.