As a country looking to create new jobs, new opportunities and new industries, we’re supporting and investing in our regional entrepreneurial ecosystems–which represent the collective of technology-based economic development organizations, entrepreneurial incubators, colleges and universities, venture and angel funds, and other resources dedicated to spurring the creation of a region’s high growth entrepreneurs.
Still, we’re not reaching everyone. Although African-Americans comprised nine percent of all new entrepreneurship activity in 2011, a CB Insights study revealed that in 2010, less than one percent of all venture capital investment went to digital startups with African-American founders. Similar findings exist across industry sectors with respect to the percentage of African Americans attracting venture capital investment. Meanwhile, the U.S. Department Of Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency reported that between 2002 and 2007, the number of Hispanic-owned businesses increased 44 percent, to 2.3 million. However, of these 2.3 million companies, only 250,000 had employees — and of those, just 44,000 firms had gross receipts greater than $1 million.
However, the challenge is not so much in the volume of businesses being started by the majority of African American and Hispanic entrepreneurs, but in the type and size of such firms. Even today, these remain primarily smaller service-oriented businesses, rather than the higher-potential opportunities that can attract investment capital and create larger numbers of new jobs. And, while this reality has been well documented for many years now — and has in part led to a much-needed focus on creating a pipeline of minority entrepreneurs through heavier investment in STEM education (science, technology, engineering and math) — the focus of this article concentrates on what regions across the country can do today to begin to reverse some of these unfavorable trends and connect more minorities to the nation’s emerging tech-based economy.
Read the rest of this article at the Huffington PostCategory: Featured, Tech | Tags: African Americans, economy, Entrepreneurship, minorities, Technology, Venture Captial