Why Our Work is Important
Black Americans have the lowest business-ownership rate in the Wisconsin. Minority-owned companies often create jobs for people from the owner’s ethnic or racial group and the success of those companies creates vehicles for economic growth within the Black community. Research links business ownership to long-term wealth.
As of April 2020, the country lost nearly 450,000 active Black business owners as the COVID-19 pandemic intensified. Black-owned ventures, for example, are in industries such as restaurants, beauty salons, taxi services and day-care centers that have had to close or have faced precipitous drops in demand.
Rock County Jumpstart surveyed 65 Black business owners in the Rock County area. 48 of those businesses were located in Beloit, WI; ten were located in Janesville, WI; and seven of those businesses were located in Evansville, WI. Of the 65 Black business owners surveyed, we learned the following:
- 67% have been in operation for 1 – 3 years
- 67% have been in operation for 4 – 5 years
- 3% have been in business for 5+ years
- 62% have an annual revenue of $25K – $30K per year, with only 17% earning $100K or more annual revenue
- 54% of our current Black business owners operate their business from home
- 18% operate their business from a retail shop
- 5% operate their business online, while 8.5% operate their business from an ofﬁce or co-working space
We surveyed an additional 32 Black community members in Rock County who stated they once owned a business in the Rock County area in the past 15 years. We learned the following:
- 39% had been in operation for 1 – 3 years
- 90% had been in operation for 4 – 5 years
- 71% had been in business for 5+ years.
Of the 32 Black business owners who stated they once owned a business in Rock County in the past 15 years, only 10.2% of them generated $100K or more revenue annually.
The data we collected tells us that Black businesses in Beloit, and Rock County overall, fail at a faster rate than the national average. 61.39% of those Black-owned businesses failed within 3 years, with only 7.71% surviving 5 years or more.
We ascertain that, without Rock County Jumpstart’s assistance and the creation of a robust entrepreneurial ecosystem that invests in Black businesses, a significant percentage of the 65 Black businesses currently operating in Rock County will close by the end of 2021 – maybe even sooner. Rock County Jumpstart’s goal is to help current Black business owners grow their business and encourage Black community members in Rock County to launch new businesses.
If you’d like to donate to Rock County Jumpstart to support our work, visit our DONATION PAGE. All donations are tax deductible.