Expanding Opportunity for Minority-Owned Businesses in Metro New Orleans

Richard L. McCline  (University of Georgia) M. von Nkosi  (Institute for Local Innovations) Adrine Harrell-Carter  (Southern University of New Orleans) Emily Boness  (University of Georgia)

Published: Jul 23, 2015

For metro New Orleans, where 47 percent (and rising) of residents are minorities, minority-owned business enterprises (MBEs) will play a significant role in driving job and wealth generation for the foreseeable future. Post-Katrina, New Orleans has enjoyed a boom in entrepreneurship, with startup rates eclipsing the national rate by 64 percent . However, the jury is out on whether the minority population of metro New Orleans has benefited equally from the recent startup renaissance. In this paper, we provide empirical data on how MBEs perceive the post-Katrina entrepreneurial ecosystem, including impressions on inclusiveness, supports, and access. We close with recommendations on policies and procedures that improve the ecosystem’s ability to support MBE development.

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As our nation becomes increasingly diverse, the strength of minority-owned businesses will be a crucial aspect of job and wealth generation in the years to come. A joint report from the Milken Institute and the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) concludes that minority-owned business enterprises (MBEs) are a driving force behind growth and will be a major segment of the U.S. economy in the 21st century. To be sure, small business ownership—and its correlate, self-employment —create a disproportionate share of new jobs in the economy, represent an important source of innovation, and have a notable effect on political decisions in the United States. In addition, many academicians and policymakers view self-employment as a route out of poverty and as an alternative to unemployment or discrimination in the labor market.

Post-Katrina New Orleans has enjoyed a boom in entrepreneurship. According to The Data Center’s forthcoming New Orleans Index at Ten, business startups have skyrocketed in the New Orleans metro, eclipsing the national rate by 64 percent.

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Citations and sources can be found in the PDF copy of the report.