Association for Enterprise Opportunity
First published February 2017
A strong entrepreneurial spirit among Black Americans has spurred the creation of untold numbers of Black-owned businesses going back centuries and, at certain times in history, has resulted in thriving communities of enterprise such as the “Black Wall Street” of Tulsa, Oklahoma, and the bustling Shaw neighborhood of Washington, D.C. However, today, Black-owned businesses on the whole lag behind the average U.S. firm in terms of size and revenue. Ownership rates trail those of non-minority groups, and the failure rate is high. While these facts have been well documented, this particular initiative aims to reframe and restart the conversation associated with support for Black businesses by highlighting the resilient spirit of these aspiring entrepreneurs, painting a vivid picture of the rich diversity of Black-owned businesses, modeling the impact of unleashing their potential economic power, and bringing a new understanding to the unique barriers that these businesses experience.