The importance of mentoring for new minority business owners

Minority-owned business statistics


Racial minorities account for 7.8% of employees and own 4.5% of businesses in the state.

Small business ownership in Iowa is distributed among these ethnic groups:

• White/Caucasian — 251,145

• Hispanic/Latino — 6,288

• Black/African American — 5,641

• Asian — 5,818

• American Indian and Alaska Native — 250

• Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander — 70


Racial minorities account for 25.2% of employees and own 20.2% of small businesses.

Small business ownership in Illinois is distributed among these ethnic groups:

• White/Caucasian — 949,265

• Hispanic — 336,213

• Black/African American — 142,221

• Asian — 95,192

• American Indian and Alaska Native — 2,326

• Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander — 517


Racial minorities own 11.2% of small businesses.

Small business ownership in Wisconsin is distributed among these ethnic groups:

• White/Caucasian — 410,863

• Black/African American — 16,578

• Hispanic/Latino — 11,732

• Asians — 11,739

• American Indian and Alaska Native — 1,417

• Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander — 100


Minority-owned businesses are an important part of the economy as they play a huge role in creating jobs and stimulating economic growth.

During the past decade, the number of minority-owned small businesses in the U.S. has grown exponentially. Estimates from the Small Business Administration and U.S. Census show there are approximately 9.3 million minority-owned businesses nationwide.

According to a report released by Thomson Reuters, minority-owned businesses are thriving and continue to grow at a faster rate than non-minority businesses. The 2020 Annual Business Survey shows minority-owned businesses created 4.7 million jobs and generated more than 50% of all new businesses created since 2020.

While the statistics are encouraging, minority business owners were negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and historically face barriers to financing and business resources that are commonly available to White-owned businesses.

A national poll conducted by Small Business Majority found that when trying to navigate the federal funding programs during the pandemic, small minority businesses reported that applying for these programs was incredibly complicated. Of the minority businesses that applied for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), 57% said the application process was difficult and only 33% received the full amount of the loan requested.

Networking and finding mentors to help guide new minority business owners are important to achieving success as found by Dubuque minority business owner, Dale Campbell Jr.

Campbell believes in the synergy of minority-owned businesses coming together to address challenges and embrace opportunities. With 30 years of business experience, he understands the challenges faced by minority-owned businesses, especially during the pandemic.

“Sharing our experiences and how we resolved them with other minority business owners is beneficial as it helps others avoid the mistakes we made early in our business.”

Campbell started his business, Positive Productions Plus, which offers 3D animation and production, video production, web design, VR/XR development and marketing, in September 2019. Campbell says that developing and maintaining a network is one key to success for minority-owned businesses.

“Network, network, network. Get out and make your voice known. Discuss your vision, passion and needs with others. Don’t remain an island. Do things on purpose for a purpose and stay involved in ‘the community.’”

When starting his journey to open his business, Campbell was going it alone until he reached out to Jill Connors, economic development director for the City of Dubuque.

“Dale was one of the first recipients of our grant program for small businesses. He took full advantage of the opportunity not only of covering some essential expenses for expanding his business, but also of the mentoring provided. He’s got a great attitude and the perseverance it takes to run a successful business,” Connors said.

Campbell counts many others as mentors including; Dr. Liang Chee Wee, formerly of Northeast Iowa Community College, Jason White, vice president of business services and Rick Dickinson, president/CEO of Greater Dubuque Development Corp., and Collins Eboh, organizational equity coordinator, for the City of Dubuque.

“There were so many people who helped me. Caprice Jones, director and founder of the nonprofit Fountain of Youth, and, of course, Jay Wickham, executive director and his team at the NICC Start-Up Dubuque program. Today, I find my greatest support from the Dubuque Area Chamber of Commerce, Molly Grover, president/CEO and Dan Sullivan, VP of memberships, are huge in my continual growth,” Campbell said.

Sullivan cited the importance.

“At the Dubuque Area Chamber of Commerce, we work to create and nurture an inclusive culture within our business community, where differences drive innovative solutions to meet the needs of our member businesses and the Dubuque area.”

“Our membership is a group of people coming together to make a collective impact. As we think about diversity, equity and inclusion we ask that: We honor each other’s stories, be present for one another, and strive for empathic action in every moment. Our stance on diversity directly supports the growth and future of the Dubuque business community,” Sullivan said.

Minority business owners can find resources by connecting with local government agencies, such as the City of Dubuque small business resources, business owner associations, The BIPOC Leader and Professional Collective, Chambers of Commerce, the Small Business Administration, the Black Business Association, SCORE and many other targeted programs specifically for minority business owners.