By: Michael Bailey –
According to the 2015 State of Women-Owned Businesses Report, African-American women are the fastest growing group of entrepreneurs in America.
The newly released report indicates that, between 1997 and 2015, the overall number of women-owned businesses grew by 74 percent; however, the number of businesses owned by black women, specifically, has grown by 322 percent.
Nowhere can this be more clearly seen than in South Carolina’s capital city, where African-American women are becoming increasingly visible entrepreneurs who are making a big economic impact by starting small businesses.
These businesses cover a broad range of industries, products and services. DeAnna Bookert of the Bookert Agency, for example, has become a local leader in the field of women’s empowerment and business coaching. Roshanda Pratt has established a well-respected business as a Storyteller Strategist with the R.E.P. Communications Network, LLC and Ebony Looney has successfully expanded her “Make Me Over, Eb” brand to include the venerable Mary Kay.
African-American women are also making their mark in traditionally male dominated industries as well, with likes of Tammy Davis, whose Blue Bird property management firm consistently ranks among Columbia’s top businesses and Martha Crawford, whose Arcadia Chemical having a 30 year legacy in the Midlands.
Still other women, are bringing entirely new services to the market such as Personal Chef, Kat Tolbert, who was among the first entrepreneurs to provide personalized meal services to an increasingly health conscious consumer base.
As entrepreneurs, these women join the ranks of women nationwide who are building their businesses at a rate 1.5 times the national average of business growth.
Co-founder of The MinorityEye, Sharon Sanders has seen first-hand this rapid growth in entrepreneurship among women of color and has a full appreciation for what is driving the movement. “Women and minority women, in particular, have historically been marginalized in the workforce. So we have always needed to be entrepreneurial in our efforts to provide for our families. The difference now is that technology and improved access to information has opened the path to a wider range of entrepreneurial pursuits. That is exactly why we created the Eye M.A.P.P.S Institute. We have seen the growing need for these budding business owners to have the tools and resources to help them effectively market their business,” says Sanders.
This ability to successfully brand and market their business has been a differentiator for black women business owners.
Statistics show that 49 percent of overall black-owned businesses are owned by women and that businesses owned by black women top the charts in revenue growth when compared to other minority women-owned firms proving that their economic clout is ever-growing.