The number of minority-led companies is on the rise, especially among small businesses. It's a trend that extends to African American-led businesses--in 2015, there were more than 2.6 million black-owned companies in the U.S., up from 1.9 million in 2012, according to the most recently available data from the United States Black Chambers, an organization focused on supporting and developing black-owned enterprises. And this year, as many as 90 African American-led businesses made the Inc. 5000 list of the fastest-growing private companies in the nation, measured by three-year revenue growth.
Here's a look at where the greatest concentration of African-American-led businesses can be found in 2018.
10. Wisconsin, Ohio, Arizona, Alabama
The heartland states and the heart of Dixie tie for 10th in the count of fast-growing, black-led companies. Each is home to two Inc. 5000 businesses led by African-American executives. Notable companies from these states include Creative Marketing Resources, a Milwaukee-based marketing agency; and Bayless Integrated Healthcare, a Phoenix-based health services provider.
9. New Jersey, Florida
The bucolic states (Garden and Sunshine, respectively) are each home to three fast-growing, black-led companies on the list, including the Mount Laurel, New Jersey-based IT management firm Advanced Computer Solutions Group, and the Sunrise, Florida-based CEI Staffing.
With an influx of talent from schools including the University of Pennsylvania and Carnegie Mellon, it's no surprise that the northeastern state is home to dozens of fast-growing private companies. Four Pennsylvania-based companies on the 2018 Inc. 5000--the Wilson Group, Targeted Pet Treats, GSI Health, and Seer Interactive--also happen to be led by black executives.
With Chicago at its epicenter, the Prairie State is home to a number of diverse companies. In total, there are five Illinois-based Inc. 5000 companies helmed by black CEOs: Kentech, Millhouse Engineering and Construction, Thank God It's Natural, TJFact, and AGB Investigative Services.
6. New York, D.C.
The Big Apple and the nation's capital are, unsurprisingly, hot areas for fast-growing companies. The cities each house seven black-led companies on the 2018 Inc. 5000, including Compass, a New York City-based real estate technology firm that ranks No. 71.
Tiffany Bussey, director of the entrepreneurship center at Morehouse College, a historically black school, notes that Georgia has attracted a growing share of entrepreneurs in recent years. "The entrepreneurial culture emerging in Atlanta, in particular, is making it attractive for [young founders] to stay here after college," she says. Indeed, Georgia is home to eight African-American companies on the Inc. 5000 list.
With clusters of startups in Houston, San Antonio, and other metropolitan areas, it's no surprise that the Lone Star State is also home to a large share of black-owned private companies--nine total, by Inc.'s tally.
There's a lack of diversity in Silicon Valley, though those numbers are slowly improving at companies such as Google and Facebook. Overall, the state of California is home to 11 fast-growing companies led by African-American CEOs.
The Old Dominion is fast becoming a hotbed for startups, including companies with African-American founders. By Inc.'s count, in 2018 there are 12 Virginia-based companies with black CEOs.
Baltimore has among the highest concentrations of African-Americans of any city in the U.S., and it's also a hot spot for entrepreneurial activity. Statewide, there are a total of 16 Inc. 5000 companies headed up by black executives.