Houston named a top city for minority entrepreneur success
Houston reigns as the top major metro area in Texas for successful minority entrepreneurs, a new study shows.
The Houston area ranks No. 11 in the study, done by lending marketplace LendingTree, with Dallas-Fort Worth at No. 17, Austin at No. 29, and San Antonio at No. 34. In all, the study measures the success of minority entrepreneurs in the country's 50 largest metro areas.
Houston is no stranger to high marks for its minority-entrepreneur environment.
In 2017, Expert Market ranked Houston the No. 1 city in the U.S. for minority entrepreneurs. A year earlier, Rice University's Kinder Institute noted that the Houston area ranked sixth in the U.S. for metro-area concentrations of minority entrepreneurs.
For its ranking, LendingTree looked at four metrics:
- Percentage of self-employed minorities in each metro area. (It's 2.5 percent in Houston).
- Minority businesses ownership parity. A metro area scores well in this regard if the share of minority-owned businesses aligns with the percentage of minority residents. (Houston received a score of 59 in this category, with 100 being a perfect score.)
- Percentage of minority-owned businesses that posted at least $500,000 in annual revenue. (It's 46.7 percent in Houston.)
- Percentage of minority-owned businesses that have operated for at least six years. (It's 56.2 percent in Houston).
Ingrid Robinson, president of the Houston Minority Supplier Development Council, credits the Houston area's strong showing in the LendingTree study to a number of factors.
For one thing, minority entrepreneurs in Houston enjoy access to a vast array of resources at each stage of a business' growth, she says. For example, Houston Minority Supplier Development Council tailors its programs, seminars, and services to minority businesses in four revenue categories, ranging from less than $1 million a year to more than $50 million a year.
Furthermore, Robinson says, business development groups in the Houston area work more collaboratively than they do in many other regions.
"We truly try not to duplicate efforts, but to support one another and direct minority entrepreneurs to the appropriate organization that can best meet their needs," she says.
Robinson underscores the diversity of industries in the Houston area, including energy, healthcare, and aerospace. This diversity helps sustain business activity during tough economic times, she says.
Then, there's the fact that Houston is diverse in its demographics. A report released by Rice University proclaimed Houston is the most racially and ethnically diverse major metro area in the U.S. More than 145 languages are spoken throughout the region by a robust mix of white, Hispanic, African-American, and Asian residents.
"Houston is the only place in America that you can go to today that reflects the demographics projected for our entire country in 20 years," Robinson says. "So we have the opportunity to lead the way in showing the rest of our nation that minority business is good business for everyone."
Minority-owned businesses in the Houston area enjoy strong support from local, county, and state elected officials, Robinson says.
"The tone set by our governing bodies to ensure the broadest inclusion of minority entrepreneurs in governmental contracts makes Houston attractive to individuals seeking opportunities," Robinson says.
During his 2015 election campaign, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner stressed that a competitive business environment — including a thriving community of minority-owned, woman-owned and small businesses — "is critical to Houston's future economic health."