There is an unnerving trend in entrepreneurship. In the U.S. Minorities and Women generally answer “yes” as often as White Men, when asked if they would some day like to own their own business. But they are sorely underrepresented in business ownership.
Blacks make up over 12% of the U.S. population; but Black-owned businesses account for less than 8% of U.S. businesses.
Hispanics account for over 15% of the U.S. population; yet only about 8% of U.S. businesses are owned by Hispanics.
Women make up slightly over 50% of the U.S. population; but Women-owned businesses make up less than 29% of U.S. businesses.
These data hold true even after several years of government initiatives at the federal, state, and local levels aimed at increasing entrepreneurship for the underrepresented.
My team of co-authors (Frances Fabian, Eric Kinnamon, and Peter Wright) and I studied several years of publications and developed a preliminary framework for partly addressing this disconnect through educational initiatives. Our article was recently published in the Journal of Business and Entrepreneurship (2012), and the gist of our framework is below.
Social components to entrepreneurship education that might lead to more business start-ups by the currently underrepresented include:
Access to same-sex and same-race role models,
Addressing both real and perceived barriers to entrepreneurship, &
Encouragement and guidance into entrepreneurship.
Of course, starting a business is one thing, managing that business to thrive is another.
Technical components to entrepreneurship education that may increase the life-span and performance of businesses owned by the underrepresented include:
Providing a knowledge base of economic systems,
Providing a comfort level with economic systems, &
Training in writing a business plan.
We believe (and there is much research evidence to suggest) that including these six components in an entrepreneurship education program will lead to more, and better performing, start-ups by underrepresented groups in the United States.
Our framework is preliminary. I hope you will provide your thoughts, input, comments, contributions from experience, etc.
Copyright © Dr. Phil Bryant, 2012
Dr. Bryant is an Assistant Professor of Management at Columbus State University and co-author of Managing Employee Turnover.