According to a report by the Economic Policy Institute, 10.8% of African American college graduates were unemployed in comparison to an 8.7% for white graduates. The disparity found in the data points to larger issues of race, education, and social mobility in the United States. Last month the unemployment rate for African Americans (14.1%) was nearly double the national unemployment rate (8.3%). Given the dismal outlook for job security in the African American community, these minority graduates may find more success in owning and operating their own businesses.
Recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics reveals that black self-employment has been on the rise. The number of self-employed blacks grew by 5.7% from 2007 through 2009, in contrast to the 3.4% experienced by self-employed whites. Some minority entrepreneurs have found a substantial amount of success using social media. Twenty-four year old minority alum of the University of California at Berkeley alum, Charlie Fyffe, started his dessert business, Charlie’s Brownies, on Facebook. “I started my business initially on Facebook, marketing through a fan page for four years before getting a real Web site,” he said in an interview. “As social media has become a societal norm, the popularity of my brand naturally grew with it.”
A number of start-up incubators striving to train and mentor minorities aspiring to become entrepreneurs have developed as of recent. The NewMe Accelerator places aspiring minority and female start-up founders directly into the racially homogenous Silicon Valley. Another incubator is 100 Urban Entrepreneurs, which identifies, finances and mentors 100 urban entrepreneurs from economically disadvantaged communities within 12 months. Thanks to the world wide web, starting a business is literally right at the fingertips of many minorities.
If you’re a minority business owner, list the name and contact information for your business in the comments.