Minority-Owned Business Face Difficult Challenges to Succeed in Global Business Environment

The report, The New Agenda for Minority Business Development, sponsored by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, Kansas City, Missouri, argues that minority businesses are not maintaining pace with the larger U.S. business community and that a change of "mindset" is required to ensure sustained growth. The study further states that it is necessary for minority businesses to work with corporations as well as government agencies to better adjust and take advantage of the changing global marketplace.

"Encouraging minorities to start new businesses will still be a priority. But a second and equally important objective is to ensure that existing minority businesses are taking the necessary steps to achieve substantive growth," said Carl J. Schramm, President and CEO of the Kauffman Foundation. "This issue has never been more relevant or important than it is today."

Minorities currently represent approximately 28 percent of the U.S. population and own 15 percent of all U.S. businesses. Though the ownership figures may seem low at first glance, they represent significant progress. Between 1982 and 1997, for example, the number of minority-owned firms increased at a rate of 8.5 percent per year - three times that of U.S. business overall, according to the Census Bureau. Revenues from minority-owned firms increased at an annual rate of 10 percent per year.

Key to closing the gap, and positioning minority businesses for dramatic growth, say the researchers, is the urgent need for minority-owned businesses - working with their supporters - to pursue more opportunities in growth industries and to employ more innovative growth strategies such as strategic alliances and partnerships, mergers & acquisitions, increased use of capital markets and quicker response to trends in supply chain management.


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