Asian-American Business Ownership, Revenues Increase

The number of Asian-owned businesses is growing at twice the national average for all businesses, according to a new Census Bureau report.

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The bureau’s latest installment of the 2002 Survey of Business Owners, released Tuesday, reported that the number of Asian-owned firms grew 24 percent between 1997 and 2002.

Revenue of the approximate 1.1 million Asian-owned businesses grew at 8 percent, to $326 billion, over the same time period.

Close to one-third of all Asian-owned firms had paid employees, employing more than 2.2 million people.

The report is consistent with previous Census data on minority entrepreneurship. Over the same five-year period, the number of black-owned businesses grew 45 percent, while Hispanic-owned businesses grew 31 percent. The national average for all businesses was 10 percent.

“The robust revenues of Asian-owned firms and the growth in the number of businesses provide yet another indicator that minority entrepreneurs are at the forefront as engines for growth in our economy,” Census director Louis Kincannon said in a statement.

Ronald Langston, national director of the Commerce Department’s Minority Business Development Agency, attributes the growth largely to education and technology. “Historically, this is the greatest number of minority grads and post grads that we have seen.”

About a third of Asian-owned businesses are in the Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services sector, which is defined by Census as requiring a high degree of expertise and training, and includes computer, consulting, design, legal, engineering, and other specialized services.

“Using technology as a business tool is something more and more minorities are taking advantage of,” Langston said. “People are coming out of these sectors, and have learned the skills to compete in the marketplace as entrepreneurs.”

The report’s findings on Hawaiian-, Pacific Islander-, and American Indian-owned businesses will be released in June.

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