The number of African American-owned businesses in America has ballooned in the past few years, increasing 37 percent between 2007 and 2012, when the U.S. Census Bureau last tallied the nation's black-owned businesses at 2.6 million. While that overall growth is exceptional, some places served as prime breeding grounds for these entrepreneurs. Here's a look at the states that house the highest concentration of fast-growing black-owned enterprises, according to the Inc. 5000, an annual list of the fast-growing private companies in the U.S.
Pennsylvania and Tennessee
These states are each home to three African-American-led companies that landed on the Inc. 5000. Pennsylvania's contingent, which grew their collective three-year revenue by 286 percent between 2015 and 2018, includes the Philadelphia-based marketing agency
Seer Interactive (No. 3,748) and Warren-based pet chew treats manufacturer Targeted Pet Treats (No. 3,202). Down south, the Memphis-based Allworld Project Management (No. 3,569)--which offers construction support, IT, and geographical information systems to clients--helped its fellow Tennesseans notch a collective 217 percent three-year revenue growth rate.
Michigan, North Carolina, and Ohio
Michigan's four African American-led Inc. 5000 companies, which are in industries as diverse as marketing, advertising, and construction, grew their collective three-year revenue 6,653 percent. Highlights include the Flint-based contracting and construction service startup WT Stevens Construction (No. 79) and Royal Oak-based digital marketing agency KORTX (No. 255). Eight-hundred miles away, in Raleigh, North Carolina, marketing company Walk West (No. 874) is one of four African American-led companies that grew their collective three-year revenue 1,398 percent. Ohio also boasts four Inc. 5000 companies led by African Americans. There's Columbus's Eagle Transport and Logistics (No. 98), which provides custom logistics and transportation services, and Urbana's construction management company True Inspection Services (No. 2,695). Altogether, the four companies' collective three-year revenue grew 3,778 percent since 2015.
D.C. and New Jersey
The Nation's Capital and the Garden State are both home to six African American-led Inc. 5000 companies. The District's six companies have a collective three-year revenue growth rate of 2,706 percent and include Simple Technology Solutions (No. 429), which designs and operates cloud-based technology for government IT organizations. New Jersey's six companies grew their collective revenue 1,072 percent between 2015 and 2018. Notable startups include the Mount Laurel-based information security firm Advanced Computer Solutions Group (No. 984) and Curlkit (No. 1,286), a monthly subscription box for customers with curly hair, based in Ewing.
California is home to eight African American-led Inc. 5000 companies--none of which are located in Silicon Valley, an area not known for a diverse population. Black founders are spread throughout the state and their companies have a collective three-year revenue growth rate of 1,999 percent. Notable startups include the San Diego-based Beauty Bakerie Cosmetics Brand (No. 505), which sells sweets-themed beauty products, and Lakewood-based bracelet-maker Rastaclat (No. 2,234).
Georgia and Texas
In Georgia, government services and advertising and marketing are major industries among its 11 African American-led Inc. 5000 companies, which have a collective three-year revenue growth rate of 6,023 percent. Nearly half are located in Atlanta, including Jay Morrison Academy (No. 588), a wealth education provider focused on those lacking the financial means to attend college. Meanwhile, in Texas, four of the state's 11 companies are located in Houston, including Mpact Strategic Consulting (No. 1,548), which specializes in emergency management and disaster recovery consulting. The businesses stretch across many industries, from financial services to health, and have a collective three-year revenue growth rate of 1,803 percent.
Virginia's 15 African American-led companies on the Inc. 5000 boast a collective three-year revenue growth rate of 9,147 percent, and are in cities including Arlington, Fredericksburg, and Virginia Beach. Prominent companies include Arlington's Capitol Bridge (No. 91), a strategic advisory firm, and the Alexandria-based project management service provider ARServices (No. 4,731).
Maryland has the highest per capita rate of minority and women business ownership in the U.S., according to a 2018 study by the human resources company Paychex. Additionally, Baltimore, the state's biggest city, is ranked No. 38 on Inc.'s list of the 50 best places to launch a startup. African-American execs lead 18 Inc. 5000 companies in the state, with a combined three-year revenue growth rate of 8,777 percent. A majority of these companies focus on government services thanks to the state's proximity to Washington, D.C. Notable companies include the Middle River-based L2 Defense (No. 197), which provides technical services to government clients, and Strativia (No. 237), which offers cybersecurity, logistics, and operations support to commercial and government organizations from its perch in Largo.