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

Insights & Analyses

  • Nearly all racial and ethnic groups in the Five-County Bay Area experienced growth in business ownership between 2007 and 2012.
  • Business ownership in the utilities industry grew tremendously between 2007 and 2012 in the Five-County Bay Area.
  • Business ownership rates for sole proprietorships in the Five-County Bay Area were highest among Native Americans in 2012 but on average these businesses experienced one of the lowest levels of revenue.
  • In 2012, there were 28 firms per 100 workers in Marin County, compared with 16 firms per 100 workers in Contra Costa County.

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 2017 alone, ICA Fund Good Jobs experienced a job growth rate of 53 percent, creating 436 new jobs. Total jobs under management amounted to 1,254 with an average entry-level hourly wage of $14.03 and an average hourly wage of $22.57. ICA serves 115 companies, 62 percent of which are owned by people of color and women. Total revenue was $99,598,805 and average company revenue was $2,767,751. Nearly two-thirds of the jobs also provided health care and nearly eight in 10 businesses have made a commitment to hiring people with barriers to employment. Learn more


Photo: ICA Fund Good Jobs

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