Welcome to Breaking the Blueprint — a blog series that dives into the unique business challenges and opportunities of underrepresented business owners and entrepreneurs. Learn how they’ve grown or scaled their businesses, explored entrepreneurial ventures within their companies, or created side hustles, and how their stories can inspire and inform your own success.
Innovation and creativity are driving the new workforce, and many underrepresented professionals are making career pivots to monetize their talents through entrepreneurship. The U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship report more than four million minority-owned companies in the United States today.
Despite these numbers, minority business owners still face systemic barriers to accessing capital, resources, and support. These barriers prove why choosing where to start or scale a business is essential.
Read ahead to learn about some of the best cities supporting underrepresented founders in elevating their businesses.
1. Houston, TX
Houston, Texas, is one of the top cities that offers ample economic opportunities for minority entrepreneurs. As one of the most diverse cities in the nation, minorities make up 30.45% of the 5,600 startups in Houston’s metro region, according to JobSage.
Although people of color make up 64% of the area’s population, they still face inequities that continue to take place in the rest of the country. As a result, officials, community members, and organizations offer substantial support for minority entrepreneurs. For example, The Houston Minority Supplier Development Council, Inc, The Greater Houston Black Chamber, the Business Ecosystem Alliance for Minorities & Women, and Great Houston LGBTQ Chamber of Commerce are a few resources business owners can utilize.
2. Atlanta, GA
Atlanta is the prime hub for development and culture in the South. From tech startups to restaurants, minorities own a diverse range of businesses.
As the capital of Georgia, Atlanta is an ideal location to start a business. It offers numerous resources for people of color to access funding and network. On top of that, startup costs are low.
Atlanta is especially a hot spot for Black-owned businesses. Lending Tree reports that Atlanta has the country’s highest rate of Black-owned businesses, proving why it’s known as the “Black Mecca.”
Entrepreneurs can take advantage of programs, initiatives, and organizations like:
3. Charlotte, NC
The “Queen City” made it to the list because studies have crowned it as a place that offers many opportunities for minority entrepreneurs.
Not only are minority-owned and diverse small companies growing in Charlotte, but the cost of living is 4% below the national average. Both serve as benefits for startup companies.
Like Atlanta, Charlotte is a good place for Black entrepreneurs. The city offers many opportunities for business owners to connect and attract customers. Founders can connect through organizations like Charlotte Business INClusion and Black Business Owners of Charlotte.
4. Washington, D.C.
The nation’s capital is a physical representation of why the country is known as a “melting pot.” The city’s rich, diverse culture is home to many minority founders.
D.C. has a total of 4,599 minority startups. They bring in over $2.4 billion in annual sales across industries such as tech, hospitality, and cybersecurity, according to JobSage.
Business owners have access to a plethora of resources for networking and venture capital investments. They can receive support from organizations like:
D.C.’s proximity to other states like New York, Maryland, and Virginia can offer founders access to a broader network to help them grow.
5. San Antonio, TX
Houston isn’t the only location in the Lone Star State where minority entrepreneurs can scale and succeed. San Antonio is a major metropolitan city in Texas that has proven to be a great location for companies. It has a diverse economy of advanced manufacturing, aerospace, and information technology. Still, the most active industry for minority entrepreneurs is retail.
San Antonio raked in over $1 billion in annual sales from minority-owned startups. That platform expects the number to grow as Black and Hispanic people continue to move there.
Organizations like the San Antonio MBDA Business Center, the Business Empowerment Program, and the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce are a few organizations that support minority entrepreneurs in the area.
6. Memphis, TN
Memphis is another Southern city known for its rich culture and talent. It has invested a lot of effort in supporting minority business owners’ entrepreneurial endeavors over the years.
Memphis has attracted a lot of founders because of its low cost of living. We Are Memphis reports that the city’s cost of living is roughly 12% below the national average.
The area stands out because of the community’s supportive atmosphere for entrepreneurs. Residents encourage creatives to follow their dreams through support and initiatives from organizations like:
7. Fresno, CA
Fresno is a small city with a population of a little over a million. Still, it has generated over $678 million in annual sales from 754 minority-owned startups.
These sales stem from the economic initiatives the city has placed to invest in “inclusive economic development,” The National League of Cities (NLC) reports. In addition, the NLC’s Equitable Economic Mobility Initiative (EEMI) program has helped BIPOC businesses access to grants and receive hands-on assistance.
Other organizations, such as SCORE Central Valley, the Asian Business Institute & Resource Center, and the Central California Hispanic Chamber Of Commerce, provide education, coaching, and other opportunities for entrepreneurs in the area.
Embracing diversity lies at the forefront of economic success. Minority entrepreneurs have some of the most creative business ideas that continue to positively impact our country. These above cities serve as examples of why it’s essential to invest in their businesses.