The Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City Conducts Study on Black Women Business Startups



The Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City has released a report on black women business startups. According to the report, it is crucial to study this group of business owners because the number of businesses owned by black women in the United States has been growing since 2002 – more than doubling in total numbers, sales and employees. However, there has been little research conducted on this growth. “While these businesses are some of the smallest on average, their economic impact is growing, particularly within their communities” the report states. “This makes understanding the motivations, challenges and support systems important to economic and community developers and policymakers.”

For this study, 34 black women business owners from Kansas City, Oklahoma City, Wichita, Omaha and Denver, participated in five focus groups conducted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. During these focus groups the following questions were asked: “why did you start,” “what were your challenges?” “what support did you receive?” and “what do you wish was available to you when you started your business?”

Here’s a breakdown of what the study discovered:

  • Black women are the only racial or ethnic group with a business ownership number greater than their male peers
  • Black women business owners are usually between 35 and 54 and tend to be more college educated than other black women who are not business owners
  • Black women business owners tend to have more challenges accessing credit, compared to non-minority women who own businesses
  • They tend to be determined, self-learners, motivated by both passion and the desire to escape challenges in the workplace
  • Black women business owners are initially challenged by a lack of business knowledge and mentoring, and their support system is limited to family and friends
  • Many black women business owners have been treated negatively because of their race and gender

So, how can this information be used?

To better support black women business owners, the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City recommends taking an entrepreneurship ecosystem building approach. According to the report, “This approach looks at reforming, expanding, or developing organizations, institutions and programs that take a culturally sensitive and inclusive approach to supporting the needs of black women within a community context.”  

For the full report, follow this link.