Here’s some inspiring news to help commemorate this year’s Black History Month: A 2019 survey by Guidant Financial reports that the overall confidence of African American businesses has increased. What’s more, the survey also found that black business owners are younger and include more women compared with the average of the general small business owner population. Thirty-eight percent of black businesses are female-owned— a significant contrast from the average small business owner among whom only 23 percent are women (regarding the lower representation of women in business, women entrepreneurs and business owners face more challenges than their male counterparts).

Business women working on laptop

Still, black business owners face unique challenges such as a lack of access to capital or outside channels of investment. As a result, many black businesses are self-funded by their owners.

Despite these unique challenges, black-owned businesses in the US are continuing to thrive. Last year, Black Enterprise released a list of the country’s 100 largest black-owned businesses. In honor of Black History Month, we’ve written a profile of the largest three among the list.

#3. Bridgewater Interiors L.L.C.

  • Headquarters: Detroit,
  • MICEO: Ronald E. Hall Jr.
  • Staff: 2,087
  • 2017 Revenue: 2 Billion
  • Industry: Automotive

Bridgewater Interiors is an automotive manufacturing company specializing in seating and overhead and center console systems. Founded in 1998, the company boasts a highly-skilled workforce responsible for supplying automotive manufacturers with industry-leading products. In terms of size, Bridgewater assembles systems across 15 different car models for four automotive manufacturers at a total of four facilities.

Bridgewater Interiors CEO Ron Hall Jr. first joined the company in 2007 as an advisor on legal services, commercial management, operations launch management and community relations. Hall earned a J.D. degree from the University of Michigan Law School and a Bachelor’s in international political economy from West Point.

Ronald E. Hall Jr
CEO Ronald E. Hall Jr.

#2. ActOne Group

  • Headquarters: Torrance, CA
  • CEO: Janice Bryant Howroyd
  • Staff: 2,000
  • 2017 Revenue: 2.8 Billion
  • Industry: Staffing

ActOne Group is a global staffing services enterprise that provides employment, workforce management, and procurement solutions to a wide range of industries, Fortune 500 organizations, local and mid-market companies, and government agencies.

Founded in 1978 by CEO Janice Bryant Howroyd, ActOne Group is the largest privately-held, female- and minority-owned workforce management company in the U.S. In terms of size, it operates in 19 countries, serves 17,000 clients and employs an international staff of more than 2,000.

CEO Janice Bryant Howroyd was selected by former President Barack Obama to serve as a White House appointee and continues to serve under the current administration as an Ambassador of Energy.

Janice Bryant Howroyd
ActOne founder and CEO Januce Bryant Howroyd

#1. World Wide Technology Inc.

  • Headquarters: St. Louis, MO
  • CEO: David L. Steward/James P. Kavanaugh
  • Staff: 5,000+
  • 2017 Revenue: 11.3 Billion
  • Industry: IT

WWT is a technology solutions provider that specializes in driving infrastructure modernization, security transformation, cloud integration and digital experiences. Founded in 1990 as a modest product reseller, WWT has since grown into a technology solution provider with $11.3 billion in annual revenue and more than 5,000 employees. Their clients include large public and private organizations around the globe. WWT ranks within the top ten on Glassdoors’ Best Places to Work in 2018 list and within the top 50 on Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For list. They partner with some of Silicon Valley’s leading technology companies including Cisco, Dell, Intel and Microsoft.

Looking towards the future of black-owned businesses

The latest survey by Guidant Financial shed light on the current ecosystem of black-owned businesses and the trends to watch. Reviewing this survey’s findings gives some insight into the future of black-owned businesses including their biggest challenges, most popular industries and confidence levels.

As we continue to appreciate the achievements of black-owned businesses and look forward to what’s to come, here are some important statistics to know:

Key Stats of Black-Owned Business in 2019

  •  Forty-seven percent of African-American small business owners are running their businesses by themselves, compared to the 33 percent of average small business owners.
  •  Thirty-eight percent of African American small business owners report that lack of capital is their biggest business challenge.
  • Black-owned businesses are less likely to be approved for loans and often get harsher loan terms such as lower amounts and higher interest rates.
  • Sixty-nine percent of African American business owners said their business is currently profitable
  •  From 2012 to 2017, minority-owned small businesses grew by 79 percent

If you are interested in the latest news and trends within the African American business community, one of the best media channels to follow is Black Enterprise, the premier business, investing, and wealth-building resource for African Americans.

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