ROCK ISLAND, Ill. (KWQC) – New information is out about just who is running businesses across the country. A U.S. Census Bureau report says the number of women-owned businesses and minority owned businesses has increased by the millions. It’s a survey conducted only every five years as part of the economic census and the results for 2007 to 2012 show women-owned businesses increased by almost 27 percent and the number of minority owned businesses rose by more than 38 percent.
Courtney Loftin owns and operates Genrty Boutique in downtown Rock Island.
“I majored in sociology,” she said. “I was working in New York in a corporate office and I really wanted to run my own business and be my own boss.”
Meanwhile, Quiana Whitt runs Love Village Clothing on-line.
“I attended the fashion institute of design and merchandising,” Whitt said. “It’s a home-based business.
Both businesses are relatively new. Gentry Boutique opened on November 7 last year. Love Village Clothing launched about a year and a half ago.
“It’s been full-speed ahead,” Whitt said.
As they take off, they say they see others doing so, too.
“I’ve actually noticed a trend,” Whitt said. “Even something as simple as hair care products. The natural hair care is booming right now so I see a lot of women, a lot of stylists, that are creating their own products and becoming entrepreneurs.”
The latest Census Bureau stats show a rise, too. In 2007, there were 5.8 million minority owned firms in the U.S. In 2012, there were 8 million. Women-owned firms rose from 7.8 million to 9.9 million over the same time frame.
“That makes me feel awesome and it makes me feel reassured,” Loftin said. “Just to know that other people are doing that is really refreshing.”
“I feel really empowered,” Whitt said. “I feel like that this gives me an opportunity to have control over my destiny.”
Still, they say there’s room for even more growth.
“Especially in the Midwest,” Whitt said. “When you consider fashion, or when you consider the tech industry, or going back to the hair products, there’s not an over-saturation of these type of businesses.”
“Whether it’s clothes or a restaurant or anything, I just think we need more locally owned businesses in Quad Cities,” Loftin said.
Out of the various minority groups included in the survey, Hispanic-owned businesses had the biggest increase with a 46.3 percent rise from 2007 to 2012. The number of veteran-owned businesses also increased. There were 2.5 million veteran-owned firms in 2012, which is a three percent increase from 2007.