New study explores how minority-owned small businesses are faring in today’s economy

Published: March 17, 2016 by Gary Stockton

Analysis highlights credit characteristics, industry preferences and demographic attributes of business owners

As part of its analytical series on small businesses, Experian®, the leading global information services company, today announced new insights that look at the health of minority-owned small businesses in the U.S..

“Given that minority-owned small businesses make up such a small percentage of the general small business population (approximately 21 percent), industry professionals and regulators are increasingly becoming more interested in helping this segment grow and succeed,” said Pete Bolin, director of consulting and analytics for Experian. “A primary component to accomplish that objective is to educate small business owners on the importance of maintaining a positive credit profile. For example, keeping debt levels low and paying bills in a timely manner can help small business owners better position themselves for growth opportunities.”

Findings from the study show that, compared with the overall small business population, minority businesses are slightly behind when ti comes to credit management. For example, the average business credit score* for a minority-owned small business is 49.7, nearly 5 points lower than the general small business population. As a consumer, the average credit score for a minority small business owner is 707, 15 points lower than the overall average of small business owners.

In terms of payment behavior, 1.2 percent of minority small business owners had at least one business credit card account severely delinquent (91-plus days), while 8.3 percent had at least one consumer credit card account severely delinquent (90-plus days). Comparatively, 1.1 percent of the general small business owner population had at least one business credit card account severely delinquent, and 6.8 percent had at least one severely delinquent consumer account.

Most popular business types

Experian’s analysis also identified the most popular industries for minority-owned businesses. The analysis showed that the industry of choice was eating places, which accounted for 7.3 percent of minority-owned businesses, followed by beauty shops (5.8 percent), legal services (2.9 percent), business services (2.7 percent) and real estate (2.5 percent).

Regardless of industry, the analysis found that the average consumer income for these business owners was $92,489, which is similar to the general small business owner population which has an average consumer income of $92,338. From an education perspective, 65.6 percent of minority small business owners had at least some college experience, just slightly less than 68.3 percent for the general business population.

“Gaining insight into the trends and behaviors of the small-business community is imperative given their importance to the growth and success on our overall economy,” continued Bolin. “While a person’s ethnicity will never be used in a credit decision, understanding the trends of minority-owned small businesses enables credit grantors to help these business owners find the appropriate lending products to expand their establishments and succeed.”

Other findings include:

    • Approximately 7 percent of all minority-owned businesses are based out of the home, while more than 10 percent of the general small business population is home-based
    • More than 31 percent of minority business owners are women
    • Nearly 45 percent of all minority-owned small businesses come from three states: California (23.4 percent); Florida (11.4 percent); Texas (10.1 percent)
    • Minority business owners have an average outstanding business balance of $8,759, while the general business owner population has an average outstanding balance of $9,066

Resources for business owners

Understanding and monitoring their business credit profile to ensure it is in good standing is a critical step for small-business owners to gain access to financial capital and grow their establishments.  With the insights that business credit reports provide, small-business owners can take the appropriate actions necessary to positively impact their business. Experian provides some helpful resources to help small-business owners gauge the health of their business, including:


The analysis is based on a statistically relevant sampling of data from Experian’s consumer and business credit database from December 2015. Average scores are an average of the sample, and are not representative of national averages of the consumer or small business. Ethnic background was obtained from Ethnic Technologies, a provider of multicultural marketing data, ethnic identification software and ethnic data appending services.

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