ENTERPRISE: The Color Of Money

The Color Of Money

The 1980s were difficult years for the civil rights movement, but when it came to entrepreneurship, black Americans made substantial strides. The government said last week that the number of black-owned businesses rose from 308,000 in 1982 to 424,000 in 1987, an increase of 38%. At the same time, the overall number of U.S. firms grew just 14%.

The survey also showed that the average black enterprise had annual revenues of $47,000 during the period, vs. an average of $146,000 for all small and medium-size U.S. companies. Yet government efforts to steer contracts to black firms are under attack from conservatives,...