Black-owned businesses are essential to the US economy, driving innovation, creating jobs, and contributing to the community. However, these businesses often face unique challenges that hinder their success. Discover the state of Black-owned businesses in the US, including key statistics, contributions to the economy, challenges, and access to business financing.

Key facts

  • There are an estimated 3.7 million Black-owned businesses in the United States and an estimated 161,422 Black-owned businesses with at least one employee in the United States.
  • The District of Columbia has the highest percentage of Black-owned businesses (35%) and employer firms. (15.17%).
  • Florida has the largest total number of Black-owned businesses (461,149) and employer firms (18,502).
  • World Wide Technology is the largest Black-owned business with $17 billion in annual revenue. 
  • Black or African American women own an estimated 58,974 businesses with at least one employee, employing 481,930 employees.
  • The number of Black-owned businesses increased 13.6% from 2017 to 2020.
  • 47% of Black business owners who apply for a loan are denied.

Number of Black-owned businesses in the United States.

The 3.7 million Black-owned businesses in the United States make up 11.3% of all businesses, coming close to the 13% Black population percentage. However, only 2.7% (161,422) of the United States employer firms are Black-owned businesses. Given employer firms are more likely to be profitable and face fewer challenges in acquiring credit, increasing the percentage of Black employer firms is crucial to improving the success of Black entrepreneurs.

States with the most Black-owned businesses.

Large states such as California, New York, and Texas along with Southern states, Florida and Georgia, contain the highest number of Black-owned businesses.

State Number of businesses Number of employer firms
Florida 461,149 18,502
California 252,729 15,014
New York 238,636 13,953
Georgia 380,310 14,394
Texas 404,813 12,527

States with the highest percentage of Black-owned businesses.

The District of Columbia has the highest percentage of Black-owned businesses along with other Southern states Georgia, Maryland, Mississippi, and Louisiana. 

State Black Employer Firm Ownership Percentage Black-owned Businesses Percentage
District of Columbia 15.17% 35%
Georgia 8.00% 31%
Maryland 7.88% 31%
Mississippi 5.68% 28%
Louisiana 4.62% 24%

Top 10 Black-owned businesses

The following section highlights the top Black-owned businesses in the US based on their annual revenue. From World Wide Technology to Hightower Petroleum Co., these companies have made significant contributions to the US economy across various industries such as technology, automotive, food service, and media.

1. World Wide Technology:  $17 billion annual revenue

World Wide Technology is a technology solution provider that offers innovative and customized IT solutions to businesses of all sizes. World Wide Technology was founded by David Steward in 1990 and is based in St. Louis Missouri.

2. Act 1 Group: $2.8 billion annual revenue

Act 1 Group is a global consulting and staffing firm that provides professional services in the fields of technology, government, and entertainment. The company was founded in 1998 by Janice Bryant Howroyd, who is often referred to as the first African American woman to build a billion-dollar business. Howroyd started the company with just a single office in California and has since grown it into a multinational corporation with over 17,000 global clients. 

3. Bridgewater Interiors: $2 billion annual revenue

Bridgewater Interiors L.L.C. is a Black-owned automotive supplier founded by Ron Hall Sr. and his wife Joyce that provides interior parts and components to major car manufacturers such as General Motors and Ford. The company was established in 1998 and is headquartered in Detroit, Michigan.

4. Coca-Cola Beverages Florida: $1.2 billion annual revenue

Coca-Cola Beverages Florida L.L.C. is a Black-owned Coca-Cola bottler founded by Troy Taylor in 2015 that produces, distributes, and markets Coca-Cola products in Central Florida. The company is headquartered in Tampa, Florida, and has become one of the largest privately held Coca-Cola bottlers in the United States.

5. Modular Assembly Innovations: $1.12 billion annual revenue

Modular Assembly Innovations L.L.C. is a Black-owned company founded by Billy Vickers in 2003 that provides modular assembly solutions to the automotive industry. The company is based in Dublin, Ohio.

6. Bridgeman Foods: $870 million annual revenue

Bridgeman Foods is a holding company founded by Ulysses Bridgeman Jr. in 2016 that operates several restaurant chains, including Chili’s Grill & Bar and Fazoli’s. The company is based in Louisville, Kentucky, and has become a major player in the restaurant industry.

7. Thompson Hospitality: $800 million annual revenue

Thompson Hospitality Corp. is a food service provider founded by Warren Thompson in 1992 that operates restaurants and other food service facilities across the United States. The company is headquartered in Reston, Virginia.

8. The Anderson-DuBose Co.: $703 million annual revenue

The Anderson-DuBose Co. is a food service distributor founded by Warren Anderson and Wendell DuBose in 1991 that provides products to McDonald’s restaurants across the United States. The company is based in Lordstown, Ohio, and has been recognized for its exceptional customer service. 

9. Urban One: $484 million annual revenue

Urban One Inc. is a media company founded by Cathy Hughes in 1980 that operates radio stations, digital media outlets, and cable television networks. The company is headquartered in Silver Spring, Maryland. 

10. Hightower Petroleum Co.: $450 million annual revenue

Hightower Petroleum Co. is a fuel distributor founded by Milford Hightower in 1984 and is based in Middletown, Ohio. The company is one of the largest minority-owned petroleum distributors in the United States. 

Contributions of Black-owned businesses

Black-owned businesses are an integral part of the American economy, contributing significantly to the growth and development of various industries.

  • Healthcare and social assistance is the most common sector for Black-owned businesses.
  • Black-owned businesses produce about $183.3 billion in annual receipts, employing 1.4 million employees.
  • New Mexico has the highest percentage increase (323.8%) in new Black-owned startups from the year 2020-2021.
  • Vermont had the highest percentage increase in jobs (93%) at Minority Business Enterprises from 2021 to 2022. 

Funding and access to credit

When starting a business, getting funding and access to business loans can be a significant challenge, particularly for entrepreneurs of color.

  • 84% of businesses with at least one employee started by a person of color relied on personal savings, friends, or family to fund the business.
  • 28% of businesses with at least one employee started by a person of color have obtained a business loan vs 48% of white-owned startups.
  • 47% of Black business owners who apply for a loan are denied.

Current challenges

Like other small business owners, Black business owners report growing sales and hiring qualified staff as their most common challenges.

  • 63% of Black business owners identified reaching customers/growing sales as an operational challenge.
  • 53% of Black business owners identified hiring or retaining qualified staff as an operational challenge.

Black-owned businesses are a vital component of the American economy, driving innovation, creating jobs, and contributing to the community. Despite the challenges they face, such as limited access to funding and credit, Black entrepreneurs continue to make significant strides in various industries. The statistics presented above demonstrate the progress made by Black-owned businesses in recent years but also highlight the need for continued support and resources to ensure their continued success. It is crucial to address the systemic barriers that hinder the growth of Black-owned businesses and provide equal opportunities for all entrepreneurs regardless of their race or ethnicity.

References

2021. U.S. Census. https://data.census.gov/table/ABSCS2021.AB2100CSA01?q=Small%20Business&t=Race%20and%20Ethnicity&y=2021.

U.S. Census. Accessed February 8, 2024. https://data.census.gov/table/ABSCS2021.AB2100CSA01?q=Small%20Business&g=010XX00US$0400000&nkd=ETH_GROUP~001,SEX~001,VET_GROUP~001.

“Business ownership.” 2020. National Equity Atlas. https://nationalequityatlas.org/indicators/Business-ownership.

“Nonemployer Statistics by Demographics series.” n.d. U.S. Census. Accessed February 9, 2024. https://data.census.gov/table/ABSNESD2020.AB2000NESD01.

“Top 100.” n.d. Black Enterprise. Accessed February 8, 2024. https://www.blackenterprise.com/be100s/top100/#top-100.

“2023 Report on Nonemployer Firms: Findings from the 2022 Small Business Credit Survey.” 2023. Fed Small Business. https://www.fedsmallbusiness.org/reports/survey/2023/2023-report-on-nonemployer-firms.

“2023 Report on Startup Firms Owned by People of Color: Findings from the 2022 Small Business Credit Survey.” 2023. Small Business Credit Survey. https://www.fedsmallbusiness.org/reports/survey/2023/2023-report-on-startup-firms-owned-by-people-of-color.

“2022 Minority Businesses Economic Impact Report.” n.d. NMSDC. Accessed February 8, 2024. https://nmsdc.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/08/NMSDC-2022-Minority-Businesses-Economic-Impact-Report-May-2023.pdf.

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