Mid-South business headlines: Black-owned businesses in Memphis; Separate and unequal

Published: Jul. 2, 2020 at 4:59 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Businesses have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic and many continue to work to stay open.

The Memphis Business Journal took an in-depth look at the state of Black-owned businesses in Memphis and how they earn a fraction of what white-owned businesses do.

“It’s really startling. We looked at some new US Census data that has come out that looks at the eight counties in the Memphis area,” said Greg Akers, Editor-in-Chief of the Memphis Business Journal. “The first thing to note is across the whole area there’s about an equal number in the population of Black and white people... There are 12 times as many white-owned business than Black-owned businesses in this area.”

Akers says white-owned businesses have 16 times more employees than Black-owned businesses.

White-earned companies earn 46 times more revenue per year than Black-owned companies do.

“Looking at this data, it has been about that same difference, that really wide disparity for many years. For, essentially, always. It’s always been the case,” said Akers.

Akers says it’s going to take a significant, intentional action by everyone in order to improve this situation.

“That means making connections with Black-owned businesses, Black business people who you may not know. That means making those connections by going to places and networking events that you don’t normally go to,” said Akers. “You can’t just rely on making business deals with people you already know because more often than not, they look like you. And that’s basically the experience we’ve seen.”

He suggests if Black-owned businesses do better then white-owned businesses will do better.

You can find this story and more online at MemphisBusinessJournal.com.

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