When the going gets tough, the tough get going is an affirmation that has always applied to Black women and a new report released by the Center for American Progress has the numbers to prove it.

Despite continued racial disparities and inequities in healthcare, education, politics and unemployment, Black women are the fastest-growing entrepreneurs in the United States, starting businesses at six times the national average.

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The statistics about sisters making these power moves are inspiring:

  • The number of companies started by African-American women grew nearly 258 percent from 1997 to 2013.
  • The number of African-American women-owned businesses in 2013 was estimated at 1.1 million, comprising 42 percent of businesses owned by women of color and 49 percent of all African-American-owned businesses.
  • African-American women-owned businesses employed 272,000 workers and generated $44.9 billion in revenue in 2013.

A closer look at the Center for American Progress’ report shows that continued institutionalized racism and sexism may have been a deciding factor in the explosion of Black female business owners:

  • African-American women only earned $610 per week, whereas African-American men made $666 and white women’s median usual weekly earnings were $718 in the second quarter of 2013.
  • The unemployment rate of African-American women more than 20 years of age increased above 2012 averages and was 181 percent more than that of white women in the second quarter of 2013. African-American women had an unemployment rate of 10.5 percent compared to 5.8 percent for white women.
  • The most current available data show that African-American women only made 64 cents to the dollar compared to white, non-Hispanic men in 2010. White women made 78.1 cents to the same dollar.
  • A study by the American Association of University Women found that African-American women made 90 percent of their African-American male counterparts’ wages in 2012.

In other words: Black women aren’t hoping and waiting for opportunities to unfold within a White supremacist capitalist patriarchy, in the spirit of Madame C.J. Walker, they’re going out and creating opportunities for themselves.

More than half—53.3 percent—of Black working wives are the breadwinners in their household.

Read the complete Center for American Progress report here.

Are you an entrepreneur? Share your start up story with us in the comment section!


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