The Deficit Framing of Black Entrepreneurship in Foundations, Corporations, and Media

On a daily basis we are bombarded with negative news and alarming statistics about Black individuals and communities. The negative representation of Black people is well documented, and reverberates through the representation of Black entrepreneurs. 

Too often, governments and leading organizations concerned about Black entrepreneurship and startup ecosystems tend to frame Black entrepreneurs from a deficit perspective. For example, the Kauffman Foundation (2016) has presented Black entrepreneurs as mostly struggling individuals plagued with less capital, fewer sales, and higher failure rates. In particular, According to the Kauffman Foundation Report on Race and Entrepreneurship“Startup activity is on the rise, but entrepreneurs of color remain underrepresented and have disparate experiences.

For example, businesses started by people of color perform differently than white-owned businesses. White-owned firms had double ($2.38 million) the average sales of Asian ($1.19 million), Hispanic ($1.12 million), and black-owned ($0.91 million) businesses. In addition, Black- and Hispanic-owned businesses have higher failure rates than do white- and Asian-owned firms. Reasons include industry differences, with black-owned businesses being overrepresented in less-successful industries (for example, in the personal services industry), as well as entrepreneurs of color starting their businesses with less capital than their white counterparts.”

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