Business ownership: In an equitable region, race and gender would not be barriers to starting a successful business.

Insights & Analyses

  • Among firms with paid employees in the Five-County Bay Area, the rate of business ownership is 6 times higher for white workers compared with Black workers and 5 times higher compared with Latinx workers.
  • The rate of business ownership in the Five-County Bay Area is over 2 times higher for male workers compared with female workers.
  • Between 2007 and 2017, among firms with paid employees in the Five-County Bay Area, the rate of business ownership has increased for Black, Asian American, and white workers, and declined slightly for Latinx workers.
  • The number of Black-owned firms with paid employees per 100 workers increased in Alameda, Marin, and San Francisco counties.

Drivers of Inequity

People of color are less likely than Whites to have access to capital and contracts to start and grow a business, due in part to historical policies such as redlining that denied home loans and wealth-building opportunities to people of color. Today, business loan denial rates for firms owned by people of color are three times higher than for firms owned by Whites. Business owners of color also pay higher interest rates and receive lower loan and equity investments. Although creditworthiness is a factor in loan denials, this metric does not reflect how reliably individuals pay their rent. Underrepresented groups also often face barriers accessing important networks and training programs.


Strengthen places: Policies to expand and sustain business ownership for all residents

Strategy in Action

Bay Area entrepreneurship supports are designed for underserved business owners and to curb persistent unemployment. ICA Fund Good Jobs provides high-quality business consulting services to support the growth of small- and mid-size companies located in high-unemployment areas of the San Francisco Bay Area. In 2019 alone, ICA Fund Good Jobs funded 143 small businesses which employ 547 workers. These jobs have an average hourly wage of $23.36. Of the businesses that ICA serves, 79% have management teams that are majority people of color and 93% that are majority women. Three-quarters of the businesses are owned by people of color and/or women. Learn more


Photo: ICA Fund Good Jobs

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