Investing in African-American Women Could Jump-Start Economy

African-American-owned businesses are the fastest-growing (pdf) segment of the women-owned-business market and are starting up at a rate six times higher (pdf) than the national average for all new firms. As the Center for American Progress’s new report “The State of Women of Color in the United States” shows, this is good news for African-American women.

African-American women, who make up 13 percent of our nation’s female population, suffer disproportionately lower rates of being insured, being employed, obtaining a college degree and being represented in elected office, among other indicators of prosperity—a continuation of a longer trend.

Despite these gloomy indicators, the gains that African-American women have made in business are a reason to celebrate. The entrepreneurial spirit is strong among African-American women, who today own 1.1 million firms within a variety of industries, top among them being social assistance and health care. In fact, the number of companies started by African-American women grew nearly 258 percent from 1997 to 2013.

This article was originally published in The Root.