Black-owned businesses grew nine times faster nationwide than in metro Toledo from 1997 to 2002, and local business officials differ on whether the local economy has improved for African-Americans.
Businesses owned by African-Americans increased 5 percent, from 1,551 to 1,627, between that five-year period, and their revenues jumped 25 percent to $177 million, new U.S. Census Bureau figures show.
Unfortunately, many African-Americans don t have the kind of credit we did, said Stacey Turner, who opened Blessed Blossoms, a flower and gift shop on Lagrange Street, with her husband six years ago.
Before, they kind of worked with you, but now if you don t meet credit standards, you don t get the loan.
Casey Diggins, founder and president of A-1 Appraisal Co. in downtown Toledo, said more minorities participate at procurement seminars and other workshops in recent years.
There s a lot of interest, he said. But he wonders why there aren t more black-owned appraisal firms. He had no difficulty getting a startup loan in 1999, he said, which he attributes his years of experience as an appraiser.
Nationally, the number of black-owned businesses grew by 45 percent, to 1.2 million, from 1997 to 2002, and revenue rose 25 percent, to $89 billion, the Census reported yesterday.
Those businesses are among the fastest-growing segments of the American economy, even though nearly all black-owned businesses are small 92 percent had no employees other than the owners. By comparison, about three-fourths of all U.S. businesses had no employees.
Black-owned businesses account for 5.3 percent of all firms, 1.4 percent of employees, and 1 percent of annual business revenues, the agency said.
Such enterprises in metro Toledo, the bureau reported, account for 3.4 percent of more than 48,000 firms in the four-county region but less than half of 1 percent of total revenues of $44 billion. The largest concentration of type of business was 174 professional and technical service outlets, 210 in other services, 68 in transportation and warehousing, and 38 in construction.
Aggie Dahar, senior adviser with Toledo Small Business Development Center, said interest in business loans from minorities is increasing, which could bolster the number of such operations. She hopes to arrange for about $5 million of small-business loans this year, and typically about 30 percent go to minorities.
But Olivia Holden, executive director of Assets Toledo, which has given entrepreneurial classes for more than 500 people in the last six years, is somewhat skeptical.
I have 600 on the waiting list for classes, she said. With all the business downsizings, people are looking at starting their own businesses but don t have the financing.
Small-business funding, she said, is harder to get now than it was in the 1990s.
For metro Lima, the Census Bureau said, there are 255 black-owned firms in 2002, up 75 percent from five years earlier, and 3.2 percent of all firms, but still a fraction of 1 percent of total revenues of more than $15 billion. Lima had 61 firms involved in health care and social assistance.
In metro Monroe, there were 104 black-owned firms in 2002, with revenue of $4.7 million, less than 1 percent of either numbers or revenue compared to all businesses. Figures from 1997 were not available.
Michigan ranked ninth among states, with 44,366 black-owned firms. They had revenue of $4.3 billion. Ohio, not in the top 10 states, had 35,658 firms, with $3.6 billion revenue.
Tops among states were New York, with 129,324 black-owned businesses, and revenue of $7.5 billion, followed by California, 112,873 with revenue of $9.8 billion.
Among cities, Detroit was fifth, with 19,530 firms doing $1.6 billion in revenue. New York City led the pack, with 98,000 firms and $5.2 billion in revenue.
The Census Bureau defines black-owned businesses as private companies in which blacks hold at least 51 percent of stock or interest. The report does not classify companies with publicly traded stock.
The largest sector for black-owned businesses was health care and social assistance, with 246,000 back-owned firms.