CHARLOTTE – The number of minority-owned businesses in Charlotte is growing as is their impact on Mecklenburg County's economy.
According to the Charlotte Chamber, which recently wrapped up the first ever study of businesses owned by African Americans, Hispanics, Asians and women, there are about 50,000 of them in the Charlotte metro region and most are small businesses.
The study points to tremendous growth in the region's minority population during the last three decades as a driver of the growth in these businesses, which run the gamut of industries from technology to construction.
The chamber and UNC Charlotte surveyed business owners to learn about their successes and challenges. Business leaders say they are surprised that no one took the time to analyze minority-owned businesses before now.
“It's essential to our city's future that we incorporate all of the cylinders, using a car analogy, of our economic engine so that we can be as strong as possible,” said Frank Emory, of the Charlotte Chamber.
The business owners surveyed said they are generally satisfied with Charlotte's business climate but they pointed to a wide range of concerns including access to capital, perceived discrimination and trouble making connections with other business owners.