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How are African-American entrepreneurs doing? There are nearly 2.6 million African-American owned businesses in the U.S., employing nearly 1 million Americans, according to the Commerce Department’s Minority Business Development Agency. The same study reports minority-owned firms overall experienced significantly higher growth than the average business between 2007-2012—a period including the Great Recession.

Here’s a closer look at the average African-American entrepreneur, according to a recent Guidant Financial survey of current and aspiring small business owners. (Read what the study revealed about Hispanic business owners.)

African-American small business owner profile


  • 62% male
  • 38% female


  • 18-29: 6%
  • 40-49: 28%
  • 50-59: 25%
  • 30-39: 22%
  • 60-plus: 19%


African-American entrepreneurs have varying degrees of educational attainment. About one-third (32%) have a high school diploma/GED. Some 26% have a bachelor’s degree, 21% have an associate’s degree, and 22% have a master’s degree or higher.


Why are most African-American entrepreneurs motivated to launch businesses? These entrepreneurs are more likely than the average business owner to say they were dissatisfied with corporate America (22%). However, the vast majority (62%) wanted to “pursue their passion,” 53% were “ready to be my own boss,” and 30% say that opportunity presented itself. Just 12% say being laid off or outsourced motivated their startup.


The most popular states for African-American small business owners are

  1. Texas
  2. Georgia
  3. California
  4. Florida
  5. North Carolina


The most common industries in which African-American small business owners start businesses are:

  • Business services—13%
  • Health/beauty/fitness—9%
  • Food/restaurant—9%
  • General retail—7%
  • Other—28%

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How are African-American entrepreneurs doing?

Despite the rapid growth of African-American-owned firms in general, there are still many challenges for these entrepreneurs. For example, just 57% of those Guidant surveyed say their business is profitable—lower than the average for all survey residents (68%).

African-American business owners are also less likely than the average business owner to have employees: 46% are solo entrepreneurs, 41% have two to five employees; 7% have between six and 10 employees; and 6% have 11 or more workers.

Particularly concerning, the average annual receipts for African-American businesses is just $58,119. That’s compared to an average of $173,552 for minority-owned firms in general and $552,079 for non-minority firms.

What’s behind these issues? One problem is financial. A whopping 80% of African-American entrepreneurs in the Guidant poll say lack of capital is their biggest business challenge. This is 10% higher than the average small business owner in the survey. The next biggest challenges, marketing/advertising (31%) and time management (23%), are mentioned far less often than capital.

If they did get additional capital, half of African-American entrepreneurs would use the money for expansion; 61% would use it for equipment, 54% would use it for marketing/advertising, 36% would use it for staff, and 30% would spend the windfall on technology.

The challenges African-American business owners face are reflected in their lower confidence in the political climate for small business. Their confidence level is seven out of 10, compared to eight out of 10 for business owners as a whole.

RELATED: Minority Business Loan Programs

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Dropbox Paper Timelines Promise More Organized Project Management

With many businesses now relying on remote and freelance workers, Dropbox is offering a new tool to help keep people working together on important projects while letting team leaders keep track of which team members are responsible for individual tasks.

Dropbox Paper Timelines has been designed to allow your team members to create a visual representation of what is taking place, and who is responsible for any given action. By mapping out all of the steps of a project, everyone can stay on the same page.

This type of technology is now more important than ever for small businesses because of the way work is dispersed among workers located across town from one another, across the  country or even around the world. Freelancers and remote workers have made project management solutions a necessity for keeping tabs on all the moving parts of a project.

CEO and Creative Director Grace Soohye Moshfegh of webdesign and marketing agency Superdigital explains how important it is to have the features Dropbox Paper Timelines provides for streamlining business processes.

On the official Dropbox blog Moshfegh goes on to say, “Instead of simply tracking tasks, our agency can now use Dropbox Paper timelines to combine our production schedule and task management process in one place, so there’s no more bouncing between applications to determine where we stand.”

Depending on the project, Timelines can also be used to share where a particular project stands with your clients and partners for comprehensive collaboration with all interested parties.

Dropbox Paper Timeline Features

According to Dropbox, Timelines is going to allow organizations and their teams to map out every step of a project with the goal of allowing everyone to know what is taking place at all times.

This is made possible by letting team members easily create timelines which show parts of a project by simply clicking and dragging. These timelines can be customized with different colors to better organize the information.

Once the timeline has been established, the creator can assign team members for each task. This includes setting dates to ensure when a particular task needs to be finished as well as holding the person responsible for making it happen.

While the task is being carried out, you can also add notes to keep everyone updated on the latest developments. You can also add links to supporting documents if additional resources are needed.

Timelines lets you see the entirety of a project from beginning to end. This can include a view of just one week or an entire year which makes it possible to be as broad or focused when looking at a project as you choose.

Why Use Project Management Tools?

At its most basic, if a project management tool is used properly it will ensure you deliver for your clients in the most efficient way possible.

Having a solid project management solution in place will ensure any project you tackle will have strategic goals which align with those of your business and the customers you serve.

The type of visibility a project management tool provides allows businesses to keep an eye on the big picture as well as small details, thus avoiding costly revisions later.

You can start using Timelines now in Dropbox Paper. If you don’t have Paper you can get it for free here.

Image: Dropbox

This article, “Dropbox Paper Timelines Promise More Organized Project Management” was first published on Small Business Trends