Buy something from mom for Mother’s Day

For a growing number of black women, one of the best ways to honor them on Mother’s Day is to buy something from them.
In Where’s Our Stimulus, State of Black Business, seventh edition, we report that 651,000 African-American women were self-employed in the most recent year that records are kept, 146,000 more than African-American males.
It is a trend we first noticed in Loaded Dice: State of Black Business, first edition. Since the late 1990s, African-American female entrepreneurship has grown twice as fast as the rate for black men. The Palm Beach Post and Jacksonville Times both followed up on Loaded Dice to interview local entrepreneurs, who often had left relatively comfortable jobs for the experience of owning their own firm.
I surmised that there is something of a role model experience at work, which I called the Oprah effect. Everyone can’t be a talk show host, but watching someone command her own destiny every day on television has to have a motivational impact.
Policymakers have yet to adjust to the changing reality. Our analysis of federal stimulus contracts indicates that most contracts to black businesses go to contractors, where women are not as heavily represented.
Only 269 of the 1,339 contracts to black-owned businesses went to women-owned firms. Upcoming investments in health information technology and sustainable energy have the promise of reaching more female entrepreneurs, but only if the proper outreach and economic development occur.
During our Catapult Innovation Competition, leading up to National Black Business Month, we hope to inspire even more entrepreneurs to engage in online commerce, which overcomes many of the traditional barriers to business formation. In just one month, more than 5,000 applications have been designed for the iPad, an example of how many new vistas are opening up.
So you wouldn’t be remiss this weekend to bundle a book on business start-ups or taking products to market among the flowers.