It may come as a surprise, but women are starting up companies at a faster rate than men. What is more pleasantly surprising is women of color are not far behind and are rocking the market. Over the years, some of the most thriving businesses are owned by women of color. According to the preliminary data from the US Census Bureau in 2012, women in the US owned about 9.9 million businesses, which was close to about 36.2% of the total businesses in the US, a growth of 27.5% since 2007. Over the years, the number of women has increased in the leading firms. Moreover, the number of women owned firms have grown to about 19.5% while the number of men-owned firms grew by 11.5%.
Women of color are not to be left behind. A closer study has estimated an increased number of Asian, Hispanic, and black women are leading the market. The number of businesses owned by women of color has increased by a whopping 42% from 2007 to 2012. The number of businesses owned by women of color was 2.2 million in 2007 and has increased in 2012 to 3.8 million.
It is to be noted that Hispanic women are making the most progress as the number of Hispanic owned businesses has jumped by 87.3% since 2007. Black women are easily overruling black men. Black women own about 59% of the total businesses owned by people of color. Since 2007, the number of businesses owned by black women has increased by 67.5% while the number of businesses owned by Asian-American women has increased by 38.7%.
It is unclear why women of color have suddenly stepped on the business bandwagon, but a number of these women who are entrepreneurs have pointed out their family backgrounds, in which immigration has played a great role, in forming their values. Perhaps the resourcefulness is part of the immigrant mentality, says Shilpa Shah, the co-founder of an online retail for women’s essentials. She claims that nobody in the corporate world is going to make it easier for you, so when you see an opportunity, you have to grasp it as quickly as you can and take advantage of it. If you don’t, someone else will capitalize on it, and you will be left with regret and no money.
Another entrepreneur of color named Christina Ros Blankfein talked about how her grandparents had come to the US from Cuba to escape the revolution. When her grandparents left, they did not have anything on their backs. Her grandparents believed that though they did not have anything materialistic, they still had their family values intact, and with that, they believed they could start their life from scratch even if they had to do double the hard work, says Christina, who is now the co-founder of Be Mixed, a natural and zero-calorie cocktail mixer.
Over the years, it has become easier to transform an idea into a startup, suspects Menendez. This has allowed many people to consider entrepreneurship. The barriers to entry in the world of entrepreneurship have been minimized and in some cases, almost eliminated, and that is what is bringing in so much diversity.
According to Carla Harris, chair of the National’s Women’s Business Council, women of color may have been greatly affected by the beginning of the great recession, which is why they have been looking towards entrepreneurship as an alternative way of making a living. She also says Millennials and Generation Xers combined as a group have more potential for entrepreneurship and that these two groups will become a large part of the growing demographic for women of color.
The founder of Bunch magazine, Lizzy Okoro Davidson has seen a representation of the comments made by Harris about Millennials in her own business circle. Most of the people have become entrepreneurial and have a thirst to keep moving forward. Okoro’s father had come to the US from Nigeria and has been her mentor as an entrepreneur. He had come to the US and worked as a UPS driver initially but he strived and struggled till he made his place in the world of entrepreneurship, and now his daughter has followed suit.