NUL Report: Black-Owned Businesses Thriving in 11 Metro Areas

Specail to The Informer | 11/10/2011, 11:33 a.m.
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Cities with strong diversity supplier policies and which allow easy access to...

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Cities with strong diversity supplier policies and which allow easy access to business-to-business and government contracts were the best environments for black-owned businesses to grow, according to a report entitled, "State of Urban Business 2011: U.S. Cities That Lead the Way," released this week by the National Urban League Policy Institute, the research arm of the National Urban League.

"Businesses owned by minorities have grown faster than white-owned businesses since 2007," National Urban League President Marc H. Morial said. "One major factor in that growth has been the success of minority business set-aside programs. It's been one of the few job-creation bright spots during this difficult recession and jobless recovery."

The report was prepared by economists Lucy J. Reuben, PhD, Duke University professor and a member of the National Urban League's Council of Economic Advisors, and Valerie Rawlston Wilson, PhD, National Urban League's Vice President of Research, along with National Urban League staffers Madura Wijewardena, Garrick T. Davis and Terry Clark.

"We found that, of the top metro areas for black-owned businesses, five included cities where the National Urban League operates Entrepreneurship Centers," Morial said. "Additionally, the New Market Tax Credit Program and Strategic Alliance between Stonehenge Community Development and the National Urban League has led to the creation of more than 8,000 jobs through the deployment $352.5 million in allocations."

The top metro areas for black-owned businesses, according to the report, are:

1) Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV

2) Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana, CA

3) (tie) Chicago-Joliet-Naperville, IL-IN-WI & Detroit-Warren-Livonia, MI

4) (tie) Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, GA & Charlotte-Gastonia-Rock Hill, NC-SC

5) St. Louis, MO-IL

6) Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX

7) Cleveland-Elyria-Mentor, OH

8) New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island, NY-NJ-PA

9) Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD

Urban League affiliates operate Entrepreneurship Centers in Atlanta, GA, Chicago, IL, Cincinnati, OH, Cleveland, OH, Jacksonville, FL, Kansas City, MO, Los Angeles, CA, New Orleans, LA and Philadelphia, PA.

"Our analysis found that the greatest weakness in African-American entrepreneurship is not in starting businesses, but rather in growing these businesses enough to create sustained and significant revenue," Wilson said. "Inability to obtain credit remains more of an obstacle for African American business owners than for any other group."

The report presented several recommendations for growing and strengthening black-owned businesses, from increasing the funding available for small business loans and raising the set-aside cap for government small business contracts to establishing robust procurement goals at all levels of government and encouraging support for private sector supplier diversity programs.

Chanelle Hardy, director of the Policy Institute, said an upcoming Urban League initiative, the Urban Empowerment Fund, is planned to fill a credit gap that has widened during the last two years, particularly in minority communities.

"The Urban Empowerment Fund will invest in new and expanding small businesses, nonprofit organizations, community facilities and affordable housing development in underserved communities of color throughout the country," Hardy said. "Through its lending activity, the Urban Empowerment Fund will help empower African Americans to attain economic self-sufficiency and to create sustainable, vibrant minority communities throughout the country."

To review the full report, please visit: http://www.iamempowered.com/soub/2011