The Data Center: How Are Minority-Owned Businesses Faring Post-Katrina?
NEW ORLEANS – While New Orleans Entrepreneur Week celebrates entrepreneurship through dozens of events in the city, The Data Center is looking at the extent to which African Americans, Latinos and other minorities have benefitted equitably from the rise of entrepreneurship post-Katrina.
Data Center reps said the most recent data shows that the rate of business startups in metro New Orleans is a whopping 68 percent higher than the national average, and the New Orleans entrepreneurial ecosystem has expanded with traditional incubators growing and new incubators emerging.
But as recently as 2012, they said, while minorities represented 47 percent of the metro New Orleans population, they owned only 36 percent of all firms, and received only 2 percent of all receipts—a share that has remained stagnant both pre and post-Katrina.
Minority-owned businesses are important because they are more likely than other employers to hire minorities, especially low-income African Americans, Data Center reps said. Also, they tend to invest in local institutions, such as schools, social clubs and community development organizations fostering additional economic growth.
A healthy entrepreneurial ecosystem that helps firms access resources while they refine their operations and gain market acceptance has many dimensions, Data Center reps said. These include financial services, government regulations, a skilled workforce, an initial customer base, support services and societal norms around comfort with innovation.
The Data Center released a new infographic that highlights a few key policies and practices that government, incubators and entrepreneurs themselves can undertake to increase the benefits that can be realized to and from minority entrepreneurs.