Race still impacts entrepreneurs of colour

A new study from Thinkific, reveals disparities and challenges faced by entrepreneurs of colour

It’s perhaps redundant to point out that entrepreneurs of colour face many challenges. But a new online survey of 1,000 American entrepreneurs commissioned by Thinkific, a platform to create online courses, and conducted by market research firm OnePoll to understand their needs and perceptions better has confirmed this reality. 

The report reveals that well over half (59%) of those surveyed believe their race has impacted their entrepreneurial experience. In terms of confidence, white entrepreneurs are almost twice as likely (56%) as entrepreneurs of colour (31%) to think that their race positively impacted their entrepreneurial experience.

Almost a third (29%) of women of colour responded that they had had negative experiences with entrepreneurship because of their race. Only 11% of white male entrepreneurs answered the same question. 

Different perspectives

When it comes to the workforce, the data shows that white entrepreneurs tend to employ more people on their teams than entrepreneurs of colour. For white entrepreneurs, the most common response to the question on the size of the team they employ was 5-10 employees, while for non-white entrepreneurs, the most common response was 3-4 employees.

What about the ‘why’? The motivation to work for yourself appeals more to entrepreneurs of colour (over a third) than to white entrepreneurs (only a quarter). And for their business prospects, twice as many entrepreneurs of colour as white entrepreneurs admit that their goal is to sell their business in the next year.

It is well known that entrepreneurs need support to win this challenge and cope with the ups and downs of entrepreneurship. The results show that women entrepreneurs of colour are supported primarily by their children, men entrepreneurs of colour by their parents and white women and men entrepreneurs by their partners. 

The report also reveals gender disparities. The most common challenge for women entrepreneurs is obtaining financing to start, maintain and grow their business (30%). For men, the most common challenge is finding the right people and managing them (32%).

Entrepreneurship is a difficult 

Finally, across all categories, the survey found that 39% of respondents were motivated to run their businesses to make positive environmental and social changes. 

Overall, entrepreneurship is a difficult journey that requires a lot of sacrifice for all entrepreneurs. For 68% of them, the income from their business is barely, if at all, sufficient to cover their living expenses. Almost 9 out of 10 entrepreneurs say they have been asked to produce work for free, and almost 60% say this happens often or always.

Join Think in Color 2022, a free virtual event on July 27, to learn more about the Thinkific report and hear from successful entrepreneurs of colour.

Speaking will be Ellie Diop, a single mother of four young children who founded her multi-million dollar content creation company in 2019; Kumu Maile Naehu, co-founder of Ka Hale Hoaka, a successful six-figure international company and Kiaundra Jackson, a licensed marriage and family therapist.

In this article, you learned that: 

  • Half (59%) of entrepreneurs believe their race has impacted their experience as an entrepreneur
  • A third (29%) of women of colour responded that because of their race, they had had negative experiences with entrepreneurship
  • For 68% of entrepreneurs, the income from their business is bare, if at all, sufficient to cover their living expenses
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