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Black Women Business Owners Gain Market

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CBS News

At age 40, Dawn Fitch is part of a fast growing movement in America – black women who are launching their own businesses.

“There is another choice beside corporate America,” said Fitch, president of Pooka Pure & Simple. “You can start your own business from something that you may love or a passion that you have.”

Between 2002 and 2008, the number of firms owned by African American women increased by 19 percent – twice as fast as all other firms, according to the Center for Women’s Business Research. And they generated $29 billion in sales nationwide.

What’s driving these women into entrepreneurship?

“There’s this disillusion in the corporate world,” said Beverly Holmes of the Center for Women’s Business Research. “It’s the fact that this glass ceiling is still there.”

A college-educated graphic designer, Dawn Fitch hit that ceiling.

Fitch, her sister and two friends started Pooka seven years ago out of her kitchen. They sell natural bath and body products made by hand.

“We’ve done all the marketing, we’ve done all the selling, the sales, the Web,” Fitch said.

How much money we talking about?

“First year, maybe $20,000. Maybe the whole year,” she said. “Um, this past year, in ’07, we went over half a million dollars in sales. So, yeah, we’re very happy.”

But when it comes to income, Dawn is an exception.

The average annual revenue for black women business-owners is $37,787, far behind their male counterparts, who earn $107,720 a year – and white women, at $155,000.

Black women in business have shown interest in a dual bottom line: gaining market share – and giving back. Dawn takes time to train students, community and church groups how to become entrepreneurs.

In a competitive world, why give away trade secrets?

“It’s definitely important to us,” Fitch said. “Because people did help us along the way and what we always say is there’s enough for everybody.”

Dawn Fitch wouldn’t trade the choices she’s made.

“Did you smile this much in Corporate America?” Pitts asked.

“No!” she said. “Only on Friday.”

Now as the boss she says every day feels like Friday.


Written by Symphony

June 19, 2008 at 1:20 pm

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