About six-in-10 Black adults say supporting Black businesses is an extremely or very effective strategy for gaining movement towards equality in the U.S., according to a survey from the Pew Research Center.
While the number of Black-owned businesses in the U.S. has grown in the past few years, Black business owners represented only 2.4% of all employer-firm owners, while Black Americans make up about 12.4% of the country’s population. This disproportionate representation of business owners goes the opposite way for white Americans, who made up a majority (86%) of employee-firm owners, while representing about 59% of all people living in the U.S.
An estimated 161,031 Black or African American-owned businesses were in operation in 2022, with $183.3 billion in annual receipts. The number of Black-owned businesses is up from 2020, when an estimated 140,918 were in operation.
Black-owned businesses employed 1.4 million people, paying about $53.6 billion in annual payroll, according to data from Census Bureau’s 2022 Annual Business Survey.
Although a majority of Black-owned businesses have small payrolls (about 66% of businesses had fewer than 10 employees in 2020, says Pew Research Center), several Black-owned firms generate billion-dollar revenues each year and employ thousands of workers.
The following companies are some of the largest Black-owned businesses in the U.S.:
At the top of the list is David Steward’s successful company, World Wide Technology. The corporation employs about 10,000 people across the globe and brought in $17 billion in revenue last year, according to Forbes. The technology service provider has continuously ranked No. 1 for largest Black-owned business in the U.S. and is currently ranked 23 on Forbes’ largest private American companies list.
These Black-owned businesses employee the most people
- World Wide Technology employees 10,000 people
- Thompson Hospitality Corp. employees 6,000 people
- Coca-Cola Beverages Florida employees 5,000 people
These Black-owned businesses bring in the largest yearly revenues
- World Wide Technology had a revenue of $17 billion in 2023
- Bridge Water Interiors generates an annual revenue of $2 billion
- ActOne generated a revenue of $1.1 billion in 2022
Investing in Black-owned businesses
Research from the Brookings Institution found that Black businesses are much more likely to hire Black workers and at the same time Black adults are much more likely to be unemployed. The report says that a shortage of Black businesses weakens employment opportunities and the development of Black communities.
Not only does the underrepresentation of Black businesses hurt Black communities and further racial inequality, it is also costing the U.S. economy millions of jobs and billions of dollars in unrealized revenues, according to the report.