Linda Mercado Greene owns Anacostia Organics in Southeast. (Courtesy of Anacostia Organics)
Linda Mercado Greene owns Anacostia Organics in Southeast. (Courtesy of Anacostia Organics)

Women of color are starting businesses at a faster rate than other racial and gender groups, according to a report released by American Express on Sept. 23.

The report said that minority women are starting firms at a pace more than double that of women business owners overall and nearly five times the pace of all company owners.

The report based its findings on Census Bureau data on business ownership. It analyzed national and local economic statistics to reach its conclusions.

The report’s general conclusions are no surprise to Linda Mercado Greene, the president and CEO of Anacostia Organics, a medical marijuana dispensary in Ward 8, the first for neighborhoods east of the Anacostia River.

“Women are looking to utilize their professional skills and talents in many different ways from the past,” Greene said.

Specifically, the report noted that businesses owned by minority women grew nearly 43 percent from 2014 to this year. In addition, minority women own half of all women-owned businesses and their annual growth rate between 2014 and 2019, double that of women-owned businesses in general — 7.4 percent compared to 3.9 percent.

Plus, the report said the revenue rate at minority-owned businesses grew at a 6.7 percent annual rate as opposed to 3.8 percent for businesses in general.

LaTasha Ward, vice president of business development at QED Inc., in College, Park, Md., said the report reveals what she has been seeing for several years.

“We as Black women realize that we have talents, we have skills and we are looking to get paid for what we are worth,” Ward said. “Black women are now willing to step up and step out on their own to create businesses. Black women are doing this when they realize that they are not being promoted and not getting the credit at work for their efforts.”

While Black women are enjoying success in starting their businesses, challenges persist. Businesses owned by Black women have an average of 8.2 employees and average sales of $557,000, compared to 13.1 employees and $2,866,000 in average sales for those owned by White men.

Greene said when she started out in the medical marijuana business, she stood out.

“Four or five years ago, when I would go to a conference or convention, there were hardly any women there,” she said. “And while the numbers are still small, they are growing.”

Greene said that changing gender roles in the country contributed to the growth in Black women entrepreneurs.

“Men are now taking an active role in raising their families than in the past,” she said. “I know of men taking family leave on their jobs to take care of their loved ones. This shift in roles has allowed women to look at being entrepreneurs.”

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James Wright Jr.

James Wright Jr. is the D.C. political reporter for the Washington Informer Newspaper. He has worked for the Washington AFRO-American Newspaper as a reporter, city editor and freelance writer and The Washington...

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