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Honey Brown Hope Foundation Rakes in National, State and Local Recognition

Honey Brown Hope Foundation Rakes in National, State and Local Recognition

Honey Brown Hope Foundation

Houston, TX — The Honey Brown Hope Foundation, a nationally recognized, award-winning 501(c)3 non-profit that has served youth and their families for over two decades, announced today that it is thankful this holiday season for recently being recognized for its civil rights

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Community Empowerment: Black Chambers of Commerce Where Is My Patronage?

Community Empowerment: Black Chambers of Commerce Where Is My Patronage?

Peter Grear

Educate, organize and mobilize -- Back in September I wrote an article entitled, Voter Suppression: Creating Black Wealth.  The impetus for that article was a commentary written by Earl G. Graves, Sr., Publisher of Black Enterprise. 

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Employees of Small, Locally-Owned Businesses Have More Company Loyalty

Employees of Small, Locally-Owned Businesses Have More Company Loyalty

loyalty to employers

Employees who work at small, locally owned businesses have the highest level of loyalty to their employers — and for rural workers, size and ownership of their company figure even more into their commitment than job satisfaction does

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The Pawns of Politics: Where Is My Patronage?

The Pawns of Politics: Where Is My Patronage?

Peter Grear

Educate, organize and mobilize -- For more than a year leading up to the recently completed General Elections, I’ve written about Voter Suppression, gerrymandering, the Black vote and voters.  

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Verbal Abuse in the Workplace: Are Men or Women Most at Risk?

Verbal Abuse in the Workplace: Are Men or Women Most at Risk?

Abuse in the Workplace

There is no significant difference in the prevalence of verbal abuse in the workplace between men and women, according to a systematic review of the literature conducted by researchers at the Institut universitaire de santé mentale de Montréal

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The Decision to Handle Rejection

The Decision to Handle Rejection

Rev. Manson B. Johnson

The Big Idea: Endurance is the key to achieving challenging goals in life.“Man’s rejection can be God’s direction.  God sometimes uses the rejection of hateful people to move us to a new place or assignment–where we wouldn’t have thought of going on our own.  

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Subscribe to Get GDN Print Edition

Subscribe to Get GDN Print Edition

Print Subscription

 Greater Diversity News (GDN) is a statewide publication with national reach and relevance.  We are a chosen news source for underrepresented and underserved communities in North Carolina.  

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The Return of the Black Entrepreneur

Written by Kimberly Weisul on 23 January 2009.

NNPA -- For all the ballyhoo about the role of entrepreneurs in helping the economy grow, there are precious few reliable statistics that tell us who becomes an entrepreneur, how they do it and why they succeed or fail.

In 1996, the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation set out the change that, embarking on a major study on entrepreneurship. The study solicited views from 120 scholars, 33 universities, 64,622 households and 830 would-be entrepreneurs. The first report from the study, released at the end of September 2002, merely identifies nascent entrepreneurs — people who are in the process of trying to start a business. But it has already produced some surprising results.

The researchers found that about 6.2 percent of all adults are trying to start their own businesses, but that blacks are far more likely to do so than whites. Just 5.7 percent of white households included someone who was trying to start a company, vs. 9.5 percent of black ones. (The differences between Hispanics and other groups were not statistically significant).

Census data show blacks are far less likely to succeed: Blacks make up 12 percent of the population, but own just 4 percent of companies. By contrast, whites represent 75 percent of the population and own 85 percent of businesses. “Blacks are starting companies at greater rates, but there is something within the process that causes them to fall out at greater rates, too,” says Patricia Greene, a University of Missouri professor and co-author of the study, which raises two important questions: Why are blacks more likely to try to start a business, and why are they having such trouble succeeding?

Back to the future? There’s plenty of historical precedent for a thriving entrepreneurial culture among black Americans. The current high levels of black entrepreneurship could very well represent a resurgence rather than an unprecedented phenomenon. The 1910 census showed that blacks were more likely than whites to own companies, and nearly as likely as whites to be self-employed, according to Margaret Levenstein, an economics professor at the University of Michigan. But in 1910, over 90 percent of African American entrepreneurs worked in agriculture, where small businesses have long been in decline, vs. about two-thirds of whites. Even excluding agriculture, black men were still more likely to be entrepreneurs in 1910 than in 1990 — 6 percent vs. 4.4 percent.

John Butler, a professor at the University of Texas, shares the view that this isn’t the first time blacks have been more entrepreneurial than other groups. When he was growing up, he says, the most important person in the black community was “not only the teachers, but the teachers who had a business.” The business provided important security, says Butler. “You didn’t know when the hostility from the larger society was going to come up.” He suggests the current wave of entrepreneurs have been struck by the realization that “civil rights and voting is one thing, but economic opportunity is another ... I think magazines like Black Enterprise have brought the consciousness of having an enterprise back to black America.”

Zeal for self-employment doesn’t matter much if businesses can’t get off the ground and establish themselves. Potential explanations for the differences between different groups of entrepreneurs are mostly speculation: blacks may have less access to bank loans and other sources of funding, or may have less influential or less active personal networks.

Butler, for one, thinks money is the answer. “Household wealth is the most important thing” in determining if a new enterprise is successful, he says. But the average black household has just one-tenth the wealth of the average white household, enabling it to spend that much less money sustaining a startup.

Education’s Dividends. The study does hint at some reasons to be optimistic about the current crop of black entrepreneurs. Statistically, businesses started with substantial capital and run by an entrepreneur with a graduate degree are most likely to succeed. And the current wave of black entrepreneurs is heavily weighted toward the highly-educated and well-heeled.

Twenty-six percent of black men with some graduate school education are trying to start a business, vs. just 10 percent of white men. On the income front, 16 percent of black men making more than $76,000 a year are trying to start a business vs. 10 percent of whites. These characteristics may help them thrive where other black entrepreneurs have struggled. The next phase of the study, due out next year, should begin to provide some hard answers.