Wealth Equity & Employee Ownership

Drawing on recent research, this issue brief – co-authored by the Aspen Institute Economic Opportunities Program, the Institute for the Study of Employee Ownership and Profit Sharing at Rutgers School of Management and Labor Relations, and the Democracy at Work Institute – makes a case for why policymakers, funders, and investors who care about racial and gender wealth equity should support employee share ownership. Informed by a roundtable discussion which brought together researchers, philanthropic leaders, investors, policy experts, and advocates, the paper provides a set of concrete policy and practice ideas to expand employee ownership and advance equity and economic justice. We hope this paper contributes to a broader collaborative effort to spread employee share ownership policies and practices that support economic recovery and lay the foundation for a more equitable and resilient economy.

1 Million Black Businesses Survey

HOPE and SurveyMonkey released the findings of the inaugural HOPE Minority Small Business Index survey which examines the sentiments and attitudes of aspiring and established Black business owners. Our inaugural survey, the first of its kind, demonstrates a high level of resiliency on the part of African American business owners.

Science/Tech Workers and Small Firms

Small businesses play a special role in innovation. In 2018, 37% of high-tech workers worked for small businesses. According to the Census Bureau’s data series, Innovation Measurement Initiative, the bulk of STEM-related researchers working on funded research at universities go into the private sector after completing their research, and a significant share go on to work at small businesses.

Women Business Ownership 2017-2018

Women-owned firms made up only 19.9% of all firms that employed people in the United States in 2018 but their numbers are growing.

There were 6,861 more women-owned firms in 2018 than in 2017, up 0.6% to 1.1 million, according to the Census Bureau’s Annual Business Survey (ABS).

Paths to Business Ownership

About two-thirds of business owners start their business from scratch, while less than a quarter of owners purchased the business they own. The starting method for small businesses tends to be relatively stable over time but differs based on owner demographics.

Small Business and Bank Locations

The National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC) analyzed the relationship between large banks that make small business loans and the number of branches those banks operate in each county in the United States.

Effects of Small Loans on Growth

Since 1980, the number of commercial banks has dropped from 14,400 to 4,600. Given the decrease in commercial banking options, it is important to understand the long-term trends of banking industry dynamics by size of bank, as well as the impact of small business lending on bank growth and small business success. This report finds a decline in bank dynamism with falling new bank entry rates and increasing exit rates for small banks. Additionally, the authors found that small business loans are positively associated with the growth of small banks and small business success. Read “Effects of Small Loans on Bank and Small Business Growth” to learn more.

Effects of COVID-19 on Small Businesses

A new issue brief from the Office of Advocacy, “The Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Small Businesses,” examines the effects of COVID-19 on small businesses using the first sets of available economic data. The economic impact of the pandemic varied from place to place, with metropolitan and coastal areas hardest hit. Additionally, some industries suffered more than others, with the largest declines in restaurant and taxi and limousine services. Disproportionate metropolitan impacts contributed to differences across demographic categories, with Black and Asian business owners suffering the most.

Policy Priorities of Biz Owners of Color

As the pandemic disproportionately affects small businesses and communities of color, the new administration and Congress are currently debating a range of policy responses. Yet there is a gap in available data reflecting absolute and relative experience and policy preferences of AAPI-, Black-, Hispanic- and Native-owned small businesses. Reimagine Main Street fielded a national survey of small business owners from January 7-27, 2021 to provide timely insight into issue priorities and policy preferences of samples of AAPI-, Black-, Hispanic-, and White-owned businesses.

Small Biz Struggling to Access Capital

A new national survey of small business owners sheds light on their struggles to secure financing and their views on policy solutions that could help small businesses survive and grow post-pandemic.