SEE Change

SEE Change Business Database beta

Search our database of minority owned businesses in the New Orleans region.

What's in the database?

Business Count
Businesses in
the database
Industries Represented
Major Industry
Top Industry
Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services

Why should we focus on minority-owned businesses?​

Minority-owned businesses offer various benefits to the communities within which they are located. They are more likely than other employers to hire minorities, especially lower income African Americans. They tend to invest in their local communities and foster additional economic growth. Also, minority-owned businesses can be key sites where information about jobs is exchanged and informal financial assistance is provided. Receipts are an important indicator of the scale of positive impact that minority-owned businesses can have in their communities. (Analysis courtesy of The Data Center)

For decades, New Orleans’ minority-owned businesses have struggled to realize their fair share of the economy. As a result, receipts are low, and they employ fewer people than they could. Far more data and research are needed to fully understand how consistently low revenue for minority-owned businesses effects the local economy and impacts employment and wages, particularly for minorities. Understanding barriers to success would help to develop effective interventions that improve outcomes for the metro area’s minority-owned businesses and the local economy in general. The SEE CHANGE Collective Minority-Owned Business Database seeks to be not only a place where local businesses can be found and patronized, but also a source of data to provide more insight on the best ways to support this community.

What does recent data tell us about minority-owned businesses in metro New Orleans?​

Black and Hispanic metro area New Orleanians own a reasonable share of the businesses in the region, but lag far behind in total revenue​

Share of Businesses by Race/Ethnicity
Share of Receipts by Race/Ethnicity

Data on businesses ownership, particularly disaggregated by race, is sparse. The data that we do have for the New Orleans metro and elsewhere around the country, is split into two categories: businesses with and without employees. Businesses with employees are probably what people think of when talking about businesses. They are typically better positioned for growth than businesses without employees and have higher revenues or receipts. But businesses without employees are far more common in the New Orleans metro area. Examples of these businesses might include consultants, hairdressers, social media content creators, or someone who has a side hustle catering or driving ridesharing apps. The 2018 data on businesses without employees estimates that the region has 127,000 such businesses, whereas 2017 data suggests there are only about 24,591 businesses with employees. Even though there are far more businesses without employees than with employees, businesses with employees accrue far more revenue. Non-employer businesses only amassed an estimated $5.8 billion in receipts in 2018 while employer businesses amassed an estimated total of $180 billion in receipts in 2017. Both business types play important roles in the New Orleans economy, but the glaring differences between them also drive racial disparities in business success.

Over 80 percent of employer businesses are White owned. Black and Hispanic people own only about 3.8 percent and 2.7 percent, respectively, of these businesses. The share or ownership of non-employer businesses is much closer to the demographics of the metro area. Of these businesses 58 percent were White owned, 26 percent were Black owned, and another 8 percent were Hispanic owned. For comparison, in 2022 the New Orleans metro area was 51 percent White, 34 percent Black, and 10 percent Hispanic.

Because businesses with employees tend to earn far more revenue, there are wide gaps in earnings across races in the New Orleans metro area. To be clear, over 70 percent of revenue going to these businesses, or approximately $131 billion, goes to companies whose ownership demographics cannot be readily identified such as publicly traded companies. Of the remainder, about $43 billion dollars, or 95 percent, went to White owned businesses with employees. Black owned businesses with employees totaled about $978 million, or 2.1 percent. Hispanic owned businesses with employees totaled about $1 billion in receipts, or 2.3 percent.

Businesses without employees present a somewhat different scenario. Though total receipts are much lower, publicly traded companies do not factor into the mix. Within this group, about $4 billion dollars, or 68 percent, went to White owned businesses. Black owned businesses totaled about $699 million, or 12 percent, and Hispanic owned businesses earned about $406 million in receipts, or 7 percent.

As suggested by the disparities in business ownership, employment leans heavily toward White owned firms. In 2021, about 41 percent of people employed in the region worked for public-traded companies, but of the remainder, 89 percent worked for White owned companies. Almost 2 percent worked for Hispanic owned firms and 5.7 percent worked for Black owned firms.

In order to build wealth for Black and Hispanic people in the New Orleans metro, growing and diversifying our economy through better support for minority-owned businesses will certainly be a part of the solution. Local businesses, government, and nonprofit leaders have the opportunity to invest more heavily in industries that have demonstrated greater likelihood of upward mobility for low-wage workers. Recent research has found that low-wage workers in construction and manufacturing industries were among the most likely to move from low-wage jobs into occupations with better pay, hours, and benefits, while workers in accommodation, food services, arts, and entertainment were among the least likely to experience this kind of upward mobility. Though the SEE CHANGE Collective welcomes any minority-owned businesses into the database, it is prioritizing businesses in the industries local economic development actors are targeting and have identified as having the highest potential for growth. These industries include: Technology, Advanced Manufacturing, Trade and Logistics, Health Sciences, Environmental Management, Energy, and Offshore Wind.

Population by Race/Ethnicity
Number of Employees by Race/Ethnicity of Business Owner

What does the SEE CHANGE Collective’s Minority Owned Business Database tell us about these businesses?​

Industries Represented in the Database

Most businesses in the SEE CHANGE database belong to industries that are either common participants in public procurement opportunities or belong to New Orleans’ largest industry, Hospitality and Tourism. The top three most common industries in the database make up two-thirds of the total businesses in the database. In order, those industries include Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services, Construction, and Accommodations and Food Services.

The majority of the databases’ businesses have been open for 13 or more years and, although the number of employees and annual revenue is not available for every business in the database, of the businesses for which it is known, they represent a total of $590 million in annual receipts. Despite this high total, half of them earn $317 thousand or less per year with 158 businesses earning between $100 thousand and $249 thousand per year. The greatest number of businesses fall into this category with the second greatest category being businesses that earned over $1 million. Similarly, the database represents businesses who employ a total of 5,635 employees. The median number of employees per business is 4, with 297 businesses having between 1 and 4 employees. The data in the database does not currently allow for businesses to be identified as having no employees, but of the businesses listed, having only 2 employees was most common.

Industries Represented in the Database
Current Top 5 Industry Groups in the Database

The SEE CHANGE Collective Minority-Owned Database is currently in beta release. During this time, in order for a minority-owned business to be discovered, it needs to be registered with their parish or city government and either have a DUNS number through Dun & Bradstreet or be a certified Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE). As a result, the database is biased toward businesses that have the capacity and an interest in having those licenses and/or certifications. As the database matures more business will be added through the SEE CHANGE Collective’s partner organizations regardless of licensing or certification status.