Jun 17, 2015 Feature 0 comment

Black Business Owners Cite Growth Obstacles

The number of Black-owned businesses in Texas is growing, but a recent survey finds the firms remain small in comparison to other Texas businesses, and their owners perceive significant barriers to growth and profitability.

According to the Bureau of Business Research at the University of Texas at Austin, the number of Black-owned businesses in Texas is growing faster than the state average for all businesses.

The vast majority (95 percent) of Black-owned Texas businesses, however, have no paid employees other than the owner. In terms of sales and number of employees, Black-owned businesses lagged behind state averages.

In their survey responses, a majority of entrepreneurs felt they had the education and skills needed to succeed. They saw room for improvement in the areas of political access and contracting opportunities.

A majority of those surveyed (76 percent) said they thought Black-owned businesses have less access than other firms to government decision makers who influence procurement opportunities. A majority of survey respondents also believed their businesses were unfairly excluded from taking part in contracting opportunities with government and the private sector.

“The survey showed a strong need among Black business owners for more financial training and increased access to working capital,” said report co-author Bruce Kellison of the Bureau of Business Research.

The Bureau of Business Research, part of the IC2 Institute at the University of Texas at Austin, surveyed 914 Black-owned businesses across the state. Additional survey findings dealt with access to capital, perceptions of profitability and training needs.