Starting a business, taking that monumental leap from employee to entrepreneur, takes great courage. Especially when the odds are stacked against you — which, for many Black business owners, they are. Black and minority-owned businesses notoriously have a harder time gaining access to crucial small business loans and funding. In fact, 57% of Black business owners in the United States say they have been denied a business loan at least once, compared to just 37% of non-Black business owners, according to a recent QuickBooks survey.
Financial challenges are just the tip of the iceberg these business owners must face due to centuries of systemic racism, imbalances of power, and lack of opportunity for members of the Black community in the U.S. Most Black business owners (86%) agree they are judged more critically than non-Black business owners. And four out of five say they have experienced racism from their own customers.
Despite these challenges, and in the face of oppression and discrimination, Black business owners remain inspired, motivated, and optimistic about the future. More than nine in 10 say they’re motivated to succeed by a fierce desire to disprove racial stereotypes. These Black small business owners list successful Black entrepreneurs as the most inspiring leaders — more inspiring than Black athletes, musicians, movie stars, or politicians.
Plus, more than 75% of business owners agree Black-owned businesses are critical for a thriving Black community — and community is everything. Almost every Black business owner surveyed (94%) told QuickBooks they feel a deep need for their business to give back to the their community.
Black business owners have to work harder, succeed sooner (or risk failing faster), and give more of their time and energy to their businesses than their non-Black counterparts. Yet they’re more optimistic about the future of Black businesses, more inspired by their communities, and more likely to give back. That’s courage.
This Black History Month, QuickBooks celebrates the everyday acts of courage by Black small business owners across the United States. From combating discrimination and harmful stereotypes to supporting Black communities and cultures through the ultimate act of courage: starting and running a small business.