Inclusion needed for minority business

It is not surprising that white-owned businesses earn more than those owned by minorities, but the size of the gap found by a U.S. Small Business Administration study is astounding – and troubling.
In 2002, for every dollar in sales earned by a white-owned business, those owned by Asian-Americans grossed 71 cents; Hispanics, 34 cents; and blacks 18 cents. In Rhode Island, our reporter Natalie Myers found, the gap was even bigger. Businesses owned by Asians brought in 51 cents for every dollar earned by a white-owned firm; blacks grossed 18 cents; and Hispanics only 15 cents.
There are plenty of explanations, but the bottom line seems to be that minority firms do not have comparable access to capital. This disparity has broader ramifications, considering that from 1997 to 2002, the number of minority business grew 26 percent, compared with a growth rate of 8 percent for all firms.
This is not a problem with an easy solution, but it is in all of our interests for business and political leaders to begin addressing it head-on.

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