Data at a glance
- 24% of Shopify businesses in the U.S. are Black-owned.
- 78% of U.S. Black-owned businesses on Shopify are led by women.
- 77% of U.S. Black business owners on Shopify have a positive business outlook.
Entrepreneurship, by its very nature, is inclusive and diverse—and advances in technology have made it easier for anyone, anywhere to start their own business. But that doesn't mean opportunity is equally distributed.
Systemic bias and the wealth gap in the U.S. continues to impact Black business creation by limiting the Black community's access to business resources, funding, and social capital.
Last year, Shopify committed to a more equitable future by joining forces with Operation HOPE. We intend to provide up to $130 million in in-kind resources to our shared 1 Million Black Businesses initiative, which seeks to create one million new Black-owned businesses by 2030.
Our mission is simple: remove traditional hurdles to entrepreneurship by providing Black founders with the tools, resources, and capital they need to succeed. So, how have we done so far?
Black-owned businesses on Shopify
As of May 2021, nearly 1 in 4 U.S. businesses on Shopify are Black-owned—more than double the national average of Black-owned small businesses, which is 9.5 percent.
With 13 percent of the U.S. population identifying as Black, this finding suggests Shopify over-indexes on Black business owners relative to the population. In other words, Black Americans are more likely than any other ethnicity to build their business with Shopify relative to the population.
Women-owned Black businesses
As of May 2021, in the U.S., 78 percent of Black-owned businesses on Shopify are led by women. And this number is significantly higher compared to all other ethnicities. Across all Shopify businesses, women accounted for 52 percent of businesses on average.
Black women are the fastest-growing demographic of entrepreneurs, growing at a rate of 50% between 2014 and 2019—a movement we've seen at Shopify, too. As more women in communities of color pursue economic freedom, we have a chance as a society to close the generational wealth gap, strengthen communities, and create more job opportunities for everyone.
The pandemic has hurt Black businesses more than any other racial and ethnic group in the U.S., with a 41 percent decline in active Black businesses between February and May of 2020. Understandably, the national figures suggest that only a minority of Black business owners have a positive business outlook.
But Black business owners on Shopify tell a different story. When asked to think about the next three months, 77 percent of U.S. Black-owned businesses on Shopify reported a positive business outlook, with 51 percent citing a “very positive” outlook.
And in a study of all Black-owned businesses launched on Shopify through our initiative with Operation HOPE, we found that 1MBB participants are exceedingly optimistic across all measures of business confidence compared to national figures.
And the initiative is already inspiring hope for future generations of Black Americans, too.
At just 8-years-old, Anastasia Linkpon is the youngest participant of the 1MBB initiative. Her shop, BoujFleaMarket, sells bath bombs, purses, and jewelry—all products either designed or chosen by Anastasia herself. “I’m an entrepreneur, I have three businesses, and it's important to me that my daughter learns the ins and outs of running a business," says Anastasia’s mom, Adriane Mack.
"When I heard about the 1MBB initiative, I signed Anastasia up immediately and her business was live on Shopify by March. This is how we build intergenerational wealth—by sharing our experiences and maybe one day passing down our businesses."
Building for you—and for everyone
Business ownership is a well-established route to wealth creation and economic freedom—and we can’t have any meaningful conversations about making commerce better for everyone without addressing the salient barriers to Black business creation.
While our findings make us hopeful about Shopify’s ability to create more opportunities for Black founders, there's still much to be done to create a more equitable future. To make good on our mission, we’re committed to ensuring that everything we build at Shopify makes entrepreneurship accessible to everyone.
To all the founders working toward economic independence; to the founders who are unable to access the funding they need; to the founders who lack the social capital or a community to lean on: we’re building for you.
*All other data was collected by Operation HOPE in February 2021 for their Momentive Minority Small Business Index, Q1, 2021. The survey sampled 1,167 adults who participate in the 1MBB initiative.