Small Businesses, Big Opportunities: Creating More Jobs With Technology

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1 REPORT SERIES SUMMER 2014 Small Businesses, Big Opportunities: Creating More Jobs With Technology Hazeen Y. Ashby, Esq. Chanelle P. Hardy, Esq. Sean E. Mickens National Urban League Washington Bureau Washington, D.C.

2 Other Time Warner Cable Research Program on Digital Communications Publications Richard Bennett Remaking the Internet: Taking Network Architecture to the Next Level Sara Champion, Katrina Kosec, and Christopher Stanton The Effects of Internet Access on Labor-Supply Decisions Charles M. Davidson and Michael J. Santorelli Realizing the Smart Grid Imperative: A Framework for Enhancing Collaboration Between Energy Utilities and Broadband Service Providers Krishna Jayakar Between Markets and Mandates: Approaches to Promoting Broadband Access for Persons with Disabilities Fernando Laguarda (editor) The Future of Digital Communications: Policy Perspectives John Palfrey, The Challenge of Developing Effective Public Policy on the Use of Social Media by Youth Nicol Turner-Lee, The Challenge of Increasing Civic Engagement in the Digital Age Scott Wallsten, The Future of Digital Communications Research and Policy Fernando Laguarda (editor) The Future of Digital Communications: Technical Perspectives Dale N. Hatfield, The Challenge of Increasing Broadband Capacity Christopher S. Yoo, The Challenge of New Patterns in Internet Usage Matthew D. Matsaganis Broadband Adoption and Internet Use Among Latinos Philip M. Napoli Program Value in the Evolving Television Audience Marketplace Jeffrey Prince The Dynamic Effects of Triple Play Bundling in Telecommunications Scott J. Savage, Donald M. Waldman, and Scott Hiller Market Structure and Media Diversity Catherine Tucker Social Networks, Personalized Advertising, and Perceptions of Privacy Control Madura Wijewardena, Chanelle Hardy, and Valerie Wilson Connecting the Dots: Linking Broadband Adoption to Job Creation and Job Competitiveness All publications are available at

3 Table of Contents Foreword... 2 By Fernando R. Laguarda, Time Warner Cable Introduction... 3 Part I. The African American 2014 Economic State and the Role of Small Business... 5 Unemployment...5 Income and Wealth Inequality...6 The Role of Small Business...9 Part II. African American Entrepreneurship is Fraught with Challenges Lack of Access to Capital Lack of Social Capital...12 Part III. The Role of Technology in Closing Access and Opportunity Gaps...13 Part IV. The National Urban League Entrepreneurship Centers: Counseling and Training MBEs in Technology...15 Improving Business Efficiency Through Technology...15 Getting Businesses Online...17 Accessing Capital...18 Providing E-Learning and Computer Training Opportunities...19 Engaging with Mobile Applications...20 Part V. Recommendations...21 Part VI. Conclusion...24 Appendix: Unemployment Equality Tables...25 Endnotes About the Authors...31 Small Businesses, Big Opportunities: Creating More Jobs With Technology 1

4 Foreword By Fernando R. Laguarda, Time Warner Cable On behalf of the Time Warner Cable Research Program on Digital Communications, it s my pleasure to present Small Businesses, Big Opportunities. This report, written by Hazeen Ashby and her colleagues at the National Urban League, continues a tradition of advancing the interests of America s communities of color and promoting jobs, investment, and opportunity in urban communities. And it builds on our interest in exploring ways to build economic vitality in the communities we serve. America s 23 million small businesses are the country s largest source of employment. Until cable companies were allowed to enter the local telecom market, the only broadband option available to many small businesses was an expensive T1 line from a legacy provider and slower service was the only option for many others. Since then, aggressive competition in the broadband marketplace by cable operators has led to declining prices for small business customers. And cable operators have led the way in making advertising more accessible to small business as well, with products that reach targeted television and digital audiences at the local level. These are some of the concrete ways that the broadband marketplace is evolving to better meet the needs of small business, and the report highlights others. Why does the success of small business matter to urban communities? As this report explains, 46 million Americans are living in poverty, including 28% of African Americans and 25% of Latinos. One of the best ways to address persistent unemployment is through minority-owned small businesses. That is because small business creates the bulk of new employment opportunities. And while nothing can replace a solid business plan and careful management, adopting and using technology has been shown to make a difference in accelerating small business growth. The authors point out, for example, that companies leading technology adoption see annual revenues grow faster. This makes the Urban League s commitment to train MBEs in technology critically important. This report includes recommendations intended to further catalyze the growth of small businesses, including targeted federal initiatives connecting entrepreneurs, tax credits for technology investment, and support for digital literacy programming. Small Businesses, Big Opportunities is an encouraging development. The National Urban League s ongoing work for economic empowerment gives the report unique credibility. We re happy to share their work, and applaud all those who seek a more inclusive future through technology innovation. 2 Small Businesses, Big Opportunities: Creating More Jobs With Technology

5 Introduction As the nation s largest historic urban advocacy and civil rights organization, the National Urban League has maintained a focus on economic mobility since its inception in For several decades, a pillar of that work has been our programming and advocacy efforts in support of small business growth. Our Small Business Advocacy, Entrepreneurship Centers, New Market Tax Credit program, and Urban Empowerment Fund (a Community Development Financial Institution [CDFI]) provide services to more than 11,000 businesses and prospective entrepreneurs each year, while supporting policy solutions to serve even more. 1 We invest in these programs because of small businesses clear impact in advancing our mission: not only are small businesses driving the national economy, they lead all businesses in job creation. 2 Nowhere is this more clearly demonstrated than in communities of color, where minority-owned businesses are on the front lines of the battle to reduce African American and Latino unemployment rates. By and large, minorities enter the workforce through self-employment or employment by minority business enterprises (MBEs). 3 Despite this track record of community impact, entrepreneurship remains a risky, often frustrating and challenging venture for African Americans. Lack of access to capital, to business networks, and to the tools, training, and mentoring that are key contributors to small business growth are roadblocks for our community. 4 However, against the backdrop of growing income inequality and persistently high and unequal unemployment rates, African Americans continue to start, and strive to grow, small and mediumsized businesses. 5 Enter technology and the tools and services delivered via broadband. We live in a world where the wealth of the richest one percent amounts to 65 times the total wealth of the bottom half of the world s population of about 3.5 billion people. OxFam International Even as we advance the policy and program solutions that will address the income and unemployment gaps, we are encouraged by the growing body of evidence that links access to technology and web-based tools to the ability of entrepreneurs to survive and even thrive by accessing free business management tools, communications platforms, online social networks, even web-based fundraising in order to begin lessening the impact of historic inequality in access to capital and opportunity. 6 That is why, in this report, we focus our analysis on understanding the role that technology plays or can play in closing the income inequality and unemployment gaps. Part I provides Note: This paper was written with financial support from the Time Warner Cable Research Program on Digital Communications, The views expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of Time Warner Cable or the Time Warner Cable Research Program on Digital Communications. Small Businesses, Big Opportunities: Creating More Jobs With Technology 3

6 an overview of the current economic state of African Americans, Latinos, and minority small businesses, and their consequences on the national economy. Part II examines the challenges to MBE growth. Part III examines the ways in which technology can address these challenges. Part IV presents case studies of Urban League affiliate programs that are addressing these gaps, and outlines lessons learned. Part V provides policy recommendations that arise from this work. 4 Small Businesses, Big Opportunities: Creating More Jobs With Technology

7 Part I. The African American 2014 Economic State and the Role of Small Business Unemployment Last year, the National Urban League and 60 other civil rights and civic organizations commemorated the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom by publishing a 21st Century Agenda for Jobs and Freedom. 7 This Agenda takes, as a starting point, the findings of our State of Black America 2013 Equality Index Retrospective, which examined African American progress over the past 50 years. While our analysis revealed tremendous gains in educational achievement, homeownership, and poverty rates, wealth and employment gaps stubbornly persist. 8 The Great Recession exacerbated these challenges, nearly wiping out the African American middle class and creating a new class of educated and experienced individuals who have been unemployed for more than 27 weeks. 9 While the overall economy shows signs of rebounding, progress is not consistent across the races, especially for African Americans. At the end of 2013, the black unemployment rate dipped below 12 percent for the first time since 2008, before briefly trending upward. 10 African Americans at all levels of education remain twice as likely as whites to be unemployed. African Americans at all levels of education and experience remain twice as likely as whites to be unemployed. 11 The national unemployment rate of 6.3 percent breaks down to whites at 5.4, Latinos at 7.7, and African Americans at 11.5 percent unemployment. 12 Among the African American unemployed, nearly half (42 percent) are among the long-term unemployed and 28 percent have been jobless for at least a year percent of African Americans are underemployed, while 11.8 percent of whites are. 14 Figure 1. Unemployment Rate by Race, May 2014 May % 5.2% 6.3% 7.2% 9.6% 11.2% Whites Blacks Hispanics May % 9.0% 11.6% May 1984 May % 6.2% 6.8% 10.2% 0 2% 4% 6% 8% 10% 12% 14% 16% 8.8% 15.4% Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Current Population Survey Small Businesses, Big Opportunities: Creating More Jobs With Technology 5

8 SNAPSHOT: Best and Worst Cities for Employment Equality Unemployment inequality data for blacks are even more troubling at the local level. As part of our 2014 Equality Index Metropolitan Area Rankings, data show that for blacks there are only 23 (out of 77) ranked metro areas and for Latinos only 33 (out of 83) ranked metro areas with a higher Unemployment Rate Equality Index than their national Unemployment Rate Equality Index of 50 percent and 71 percent, respectively. In other words, in only 23 of the 77 ranked cities, blacks are not twice as likely to be unemployed as whites are. And in only 33 of the 83 ranked cities are Latinos not almost a third more likely to be unemployed as their local white counterparts are. Sadly, closer analyses of the unemployment rates in the 23 metro areas with a greater Unemployment Rate Equality Index for blacks reveal that neither race is doing well in those cities. Blacks are only doing well comparatively, not because their overall local employment status improved, but because their white local counterparts also have poor employment numbers. Indeed, these 23 metro areas were the hardest hit by the Great Recession, experienced weaker recoveries, and with the exception of two, all have black and white unemployment rates that exceed the national averages for each group. Additionally, none of these 23 metro areas where blacks are not twice as likely to be unemployed are among the top 10 cities nationally with either the lowest black or white unemployment rates. For Latinos, closer analyses of the unemployment rates in the 33 metro areas with a greater Unemployment Rate Equality Index for Latinos reveal slightly more positive results. In four of the metro areas Memphis, Tennessee; Madison, Wisconsin; Indianapolis, Indiana; and Nashville, Tennessee Latinos actually have lower unemployment rates than their local white counterparts. However, this must be balanced by the fact that these are also metro areas where the educational attainment of whites is at or slightly below national averages. Significantly, unlike the 23 metro areas with the highest Unemployment Rate Equality Index for blacks, one of the 33 metro areas with the highest Unemployment Rate Equality Index for Latinos is one of the top 10 metro areas with the lowest Latino and the lowest white unemployment rates. For Latinos, Madison, Wisconsin, has their second lowest unemployment rate in the country at 4.5 percent and the fourth lowest unemployment rate in the country for whites at 4.4 percent. Coincidentally, Madison ranks last (out of the 77 ranked metro areas) in the Unemployment Rate Equality Index for blacks. The data reported here are illustrated in detail in the Appendix. Income and Wealth Inequality The wealth of the richest one percent amounts to 65 times the total wealth of the bottom half of the world s population of about 3.5 billion people. 15 Here in the United States, the gap between rich and poor has grown at a faster rate than in any other developed country. 16 Our wealthiest one percent amassed 95 percent of post-financial crisis growth since 2009, while the bottom 90 percent became poorer. 17 With more than 46 million Americans currently living in poverty, including roughly 28 percent of African Americans and 25 percent of Latinos living below the poverty line, economic inequality is the greatest domestic threat facing our nation. 18 A strong connection between race and economic stability persists. In fact, the progress that African Americans and Latinos have made in the last 25 years has almost been erased by the Great Recession. Driven by both income and wealth factors, this inequality is dire because it limits the economic opportunities and stability of African American and Latino families including the conditions for their starting, maintaining, and growing a small business. Since the Great Recession, African Americans and Latinos are beyond broke. 19 With little chance of intergenerational wealth transfers, African Americans and Latinos depend on acquiring their 6 Small Businesses, Big Opportunities: Creating More Jobs With Technology

9 own assets. Before the Great Recession, home ownership was the key asset in African American and Latino wealth portfolios. 20 For African Americans and Latinos, home equity accounted for 92 percent and 67 percent of personal wealth, respectively. 21 With the housing collapse, half of the collective wealth of African American families and 67 percent of the collective wealth of Latino families vanished. 22 Figure 2. Homeownership Rate, 2007 and % 75.2% 73.5% Blacks 60% 47.2% 49.7% 43.9% 46.1% Whites alone, non-hispanic Hispanics 40% 20% Source: U.S. Census Bureau Housing Vacancies and Homeownership Annual Statistics: 2013 As of 2011, whites have a median net worth of $110,500, more than 17 times that of blacks at $6,314, and more than 14 times that of Latinos at $7, Liquid assets for African Americans and Latinos are almost nonexistent. 24 Compared with $23,000 of median liquid wealth for whites, African Americans and Latinos have only $200 and $340, respectively. 25 This portion of liquid wealth only diminishes further if retirement savings are deducted African Americans drop to just $25 of liquid wealth and Latinos to a mere $ Figure Median Net Worth, 2010 Dollars $120,000 $110,500 $100,000 $80,000 $60,000 $40,000 $20,000 $6,314 $7,683 0 Blacks Whites Hispanics Source: State of Black America 2014 Equality Index Small Businesses, Big Opportunities: Creating More Jobs With Technology 7

10 Without inherited wealth and without assets, African Americans and Latinos must rely on earned income. This is not a promising proposition. Black median household income is roughly 60 percent of white household income, down from 62 percent before the Great Recession. 27 The Latino median household income is now 71 percent of white household income, down from 74 percent before the recession. 28 Over half 56.5 percent and 50.8 percent, respectively of African American and Latino households in this country are below middle income, compared with 35.5 percent of white households. 29 Figure 4. Median Household Income in Real Dollars, 2012 $60,000 $56,565 $50,000 $40,000 $30,000 $33,764 $40,417 $20,000 $10,000 0 Blacks Whites Hispanics Source: State of Black America 2014 Equality Index The wage gap across gender and race persists at every education level, and is especially significant in African American and Latino households. Since black women uniquely outnumber their male counterparts in the workforce, this has grave implications for household incomes. 30 Additionally, in terms of small businesses, the most recent available data show minority women-owned businesses grew faster than all other groups of firms in number of firms, gross receipts, and employment between 2002 and Within this subset, African American women-owned firms grew the fast- Figure 5. Median Usual Weekly Earnings (in Current Dollars), 1st Quarter 2014 $1,000 $898 $800 $600 $708 $646 $606 $819 $740 $593 $610 $565 Combined Men Women $400 $200 0 Blacks Whites Hispanics Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Current Population Survey 8 Small Businesses, Big Opportunities: Creating More Jobs With Technology

11 est and Latina-owned firms the third fastest. 32 Therefore, with African American women earning 64 cents and Latina women 53 cents to a white man s dollar, 33 they are earning less to put toward their personal wealth, which they rely on to start, maintain, and grow their business. This is not compensated for by African American men and Latino men, who earn 74 cents and 65 cents, respectively, for every dollar earned by white men. 34 The Role of Small Business Since the days of Madam C.J. Walker 35 and Thomas Jennings, 36 small businesses have played a critical role as job creators and wealth generators in the United States. The U.S. Small Business Administration s Office of Advocacy has found that small businesses entrepreneurs and small firms, and self-employed persons are the innovation engine of the U.S. economy. They are responsible for new jobs, new products, and new solutions to the most pressing challenges of our era. 37 Small businesses entrepreneurs and small firms, self-employed persons are the innovation engine of the U.S. economy. Winslow Sargeant, PhD. Chief Counsel for Advocacy, Small Business Administration Small businesses employ about half 55 million people of the U.S. private workforce, 38 and created 64 percent of new jobs between 1993 and Small businesses, particularly African American-owned, tend to employ more individuals with lower levels of education (a high school diploma or below) and more individuals aged 65 or older. 40 And among young businesses, minority firms created more jobs than non-minority firms did 3.1 jobs per business, versus 2.4 jobs for non-minority firms during a three-year period. 41 This is significant because these jobs are located in minority communities and employ a large proportion of minorities. 42 Minority entrepreneurs are also outpacing non-minorities in terms of starting new businesses. According to the most recent Survey of Business Owners (SBO), 43 while the total number of U.S. businesses only increased by 17.9 percent between 2002 and 2007, the number of MBEs increased by 45.5 percent, from four million to 5.8 million. 44 During the same period, MBEs employed 5.8 Figure 6. Number of Minority U.S. Firms (With and Without Paid Employees) 7,000,000 6,000,000 5,759,209 Number of firms (millions) 5,000,000 4,000,000 3,000,000 2,000,000 1,921,864 2,260,309 4,104,953 1,197,567 1,573,464 Total Minority Owned Firms African American Firms Hispanic Firms 1,000, Source: U.S. Census Bureau 2007 Survey of Business Owners, released June 2010 Small Businesses, Big Opportunities: Creating More Jobs With Technology 9

12 million people, or five percent of the nation s employees. 45 African American firms alone increased their hiring by 20.6 percent, to more than 909,552 individual jobs. 46 On average, African American firms hired nine workers; larger African American firms with over $1 million in revenues hired an average of 42 workers per firm. 47 Without these jobs created by small and minority-owned businesses, studies show that the ranks of unemployed African Americans may have risen to almost two-thirds 62.8 percent or as many as 2.3 million in This is not simply a matter of concern for our community projected demographic shifts increase the need to ensure that minority businesses are strong economic drivers for our overall economy Small Businesses, Big Opportunities: Creating More Jobs With Technology

13 Part II. African American Entrepreneurship is Fraught with Challenges A recent Wells Fargo/Gallup Poll of small business owners found that the vast majority of entrepreneurs would choose to start a small business again. Yet, according to poll respondents, that opportunity is not without challenges. They list the top three obstacles to growing a small business as: Securing accounts/generating revenue/customer base Cash flow Credit financing/availability of funds 50 Eminent economist Dr. Thomas Shapiro, in his 2013 brief explaining the black-white economic divide, points to a tripling of the wealth gap between African Americans and whites over the past 25 years and lists the foreclosure crisis, employment discrimination, disproportionate impacts of unstable labor markets, and discrepancies in the likelihood of receiving an inheritance (and its size) among key factors contributing to the current gap of more than $250, Therefore, the largest obstacles to growing a small business have a greater impact on minority communities, which are less likely to have capital available in the form of savings, investment income, and home equity, and are more limited in their access to credit or professional networks of high net-worth donors Lack of Access to Capital The Small Business Administration (SBA) has reported that the major constraint limiting the growth, expansion and wealth creation of small firms especially women- and minority-owned businesses is inadequate capital. Because of their size, these small firms typically have almost no access to external funds from public markets and are bank dependent. 53 Numerous studies and reports have shown that the majority of minority entrepreneurs rely on personal finances to launch their businesses. 54 Unlike their non-minority counterparts, minority entrepreneurs leverage their savings and home equity to start with substantially less capital. A correlation exists between the level of startup capital and business success. 55 The Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) has stated that financial constraints are the most significant issues affecting minority business owners and business growth 56 and the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship has found that inequality among people of color hinders their ability to create, maintain, and grow small businesses. 57 This is extremely troubling. At a time when African Americans need job creation, many small business owners have said that access to traditional financial institution lending has become even more difficult. Even the SBA lending to minority businesses especially African American businesses has been dismal. 58 Small Businesses, Big Opportunities: Creating More Jobs With Technology 11

14 2. Lack of Social Capital The same inequities that lead to wealth and opportunity gaps at the individual level translate to the social networks in which entrepreneurs do business. Without access to the types of community resources that small businesses must rely on in order to grow, minority entrepreneurs face challenges when they seek support. 59 Historically, minorities do not have access to professional networks that allow for open access to capital, contracting, trade and counseling, which is critical to a small business s success. 60 Without these connections, minority entrepreneurs must piece together a makeshift network. Studies show that black firms face consumer discrimination and have limited opportunities to penetrate networks, such as those in construction Small Businesses, Big Opportunities: Creating More Jobs With Technology

15 Part III. The Role of Technology in Closing Access and Opportunity Gaps A few decades ago, , the Internet, mobile marketing, and smartphones did not exist. In our current information economy, the use of these tools has become expected in all sectors. Technology has become central to social and economic life. It has changed the way that companies and consumers engage in business transactions, work, and how people live and interact with each other socially. A 2013 study found that more than half 62 percent of U.S. consumers with Internet access now shop online at least once a month. 62 Only one percent of those surveyed never shop online. 63 In the U.S. alone, increased technology adoption by small business enterprises was calculated to have the potential to increase small business revenue by $360 billion and add more than two million jobs. In the business sector, technology has allowed companies to expand their customer base, marketing power, and productivity all while managing costs. It has helped turn small local businesses into global enterprises. For minority entrepreneurs confronted with limited access to capital, training and mentoring, and social networks, the growth of technological solutions to business problems has the potential to close persistent gaps. A 2013 Boston Consulting Group (BCG) report detailing their study of small and medium businesses in five countries the United States, Germany, Brazil, China, and India found that across all industry sectors, those businesses who were leaders in technology adoption from 2010 through 2012 created jobs almost twice as fast as other small businesses did. 64 Tech leaders 65 incorporated technology into their business model in a variety of ways and employ a powerful combination of cloud-based services and solutions; online, social, and mobile capabilities; voice-over Internet protocol (VoIP) and messenger tools; and productivity software. 66 This expansive use of technology allowed these businesses to increase their annual revenue 15 percentage points faster than those who were lagging behind on using technology. 67 This is important for the overall economy, as the experiences of these tech-leaders were consistent across all five countries. 68 Based on the findings, the report estimated that if more small businesses could achieve the growth rates of these tech-leaders, small business enterprise revenue could potentially grow by $770 billion, with the added bonus of potentially creating an additional 6.2 million jobs in the five countries surveyed. 69 In the United States alone, increased technology adoption by small business enterprises was calculated to have the potential to increase total annual small business revenues by $360 billion and add more than two million jobs. 70 This is particularly impressive when our U.S. economy only added an annual total of 2.1 million jobs in 2012 and Such job creation would help grow the U.S. economy and recover jobs lost during the Great Recession. Since the beginning of the economic recovery in 2009, and due to sequestration and federal and state-level efforts to cut spending, the private sector has driven job growth. 72 The private sector has added back more jobs than were lost during the Great Recession, but the joblessness crisis persists because government jobs that were lost have not returned. Small Businesses, Big Opportunities: Creating More Jobs With Technology 13

16 Technology adoption can also play a role as a potential social equalizer. In each of the countries surveyed, technology helped level the playing field for historically disadvantaged groups. 73 In most countries, women lag behind men in education, wages, and access to technology. 74 Worldwide, 25 percent fewer women have access to the Internet and are 21 percent less likely to own a mobile phone. 75 In the U.S., the labor participation rate is also skewed toward males 70 percent of males and 58 percent of women are in the workforce. 76 However, even with the presence of those inequities, the tech-leading businesses with a female founder were able to bridge the gaps and achieve average revenue that mostly matched or surpassed that of their male counterparts. 77 Additionally, average job and revenue growth are not driven by the amount spent on technology. 78 Instead of spending more money, these leader technology companies achieve added efficiencies, capabilities, and access using existing financial reserves. 79 This presents a ripe opportunity for women and minority business owners with little or no access to capital. 14 Small Businesses, Big Opportunities: Creating More Jobs With Technology

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