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Economic Equity Research 

Our Latest Research 

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Black Women May Lag National Trends in Business Start-ups

In furtherance of its mission, WCEO engaged the University of Cincinnati Economics Center in 2023 to conduct the Columbus Metro area’s first economic impact study for minority businesses and first look at post-pandemic Black-owned business data.


WCEO’s goals for the study are to add to the field of practice by publishing establishing baseline data, launching a public smart data dashboard, and innovating new approaches to overcome entrenched barriers that stymie economic mobility.  

The data, analyzed from 797 local businesses, focuses on the direct and indirect sales, jobs, and earnings contributed by these businesses in a six-county geographic area, including: Franklin County and the contiguous counties of Delaware, Licking, Fairfield, Pickaway, and Madison. Additionally, the data is augmented by fiscal impact analyses focused on the subsequent impact on state and local jurisdictions in the form of earnings and sales tax revenue. The data analysis is disaggregated to reveal insights about local Black women-owned businesses.

To deepen understanding of the fiscal economic and fiscal impact outputs, the Economics Center categorized the 797 local Black- and Black women-owned businesses by industry sector.  This analysis indicates that the majority of local Black businesses operate in lower growth industries. Lower growth industries foster zero to low employee (micro) businesses and corresponding lack of scale. Both are benchmarks for persistent wealth disparities. The data provides a more nuanced post-pandemic perspective that will be leveraged as a foundation for an innovative path forward. 

Big Ideas: 

- Black business owners contributed $2.2B in economic impact to the Central Ohio economy 

- Black businesses in Central Ohio narrowly exceed the national trends for employer businesses 

- Black women may not be part of the national trends of creating more businesses than their male counterparts 

- Black entrepreneurs are fenced off from high growth industries 

- The broader business community, investor and philanthropic community can help reduce wealth disparities by investing more robustly in Black high growth industry start-ups and pivots. 

Read our report here 

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