Highlights

Fostering small business has potential to close the racial wealth gap

If every Black-owned business with employees added two Black workers and 15 percent of those with no employees hired just one Black worker, the racial unemployment gap in the United States would be virtually eliminated.

A recent study on Black entrepreneurship concluded that Black-owned businesses could be a key to closing the racial wealth gap. While white adults have 13 times the wealth of Black adults, the gap between white and Black business owners is only three to one. The median net worth for Black business owners is 12 times higher than Black nonbusiness owners.

That’s why supporting and nurturing small business growth is one of the National Urban League’s top priorities, and Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses is one of our most important partnerships. Through greater access to education, capital and business support services, 10,000 Small Businesses graduates are able to grow their revenues and create jobs at rates that outperform the economy in general.

In 2016, 47 percent of businesses grew their revenues. But 30 months after graduation, nearly 78 percent of 10,000 Small Businesses alumni increased revenues. About 25 percent of businesses added jobs. But, at 30 months, more than 56 percent of 10,000 Small Businesses alumni created jobs.

In this 50th anniversary year of examining racial progress since the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., the enormous role of Black-owned businesses in the Civil Rights Movement cannot be overstated. As Boston University historian Louis Ferleger notes, the success of the Montgomery bus boycott depended upon Montgomery’s 18 Black-owned taxi companies, operating more than 200 cabs.

“Histories of the civil rights movement that emphasize the glory and successes of charismatic leaders only tell part of the story,” Ferleger writes. “Small Black-owned businesses were critical because they were empowered to engage in civic participation. These businesses were uniquely situated to support the civil rights movement and also parted the waters.”

Today’s Black entrepreneurs, supported and empowered by partnerships like 10,000 Small Businesses, are a continuation of that civil rights legacy.

About 700 of the more than 7,200 graduates of the program have received their training through the Babson College cohort — a blended online and face-to-face program that delivers intensive entrepreneurship training and practical training from Babson’s business experts and peers, alongside educational teams who teach the 10,000 Small Businesses program at community colleges across the country.

For 11 weeks, these small business owners connect with peers and work together through practical business education delivered through a blend of online and in-person sessions.