Mending the Tapestry

Executive Summary

In 2017, AEO published its groundbreaking report The Tapestry of Black Business Ownership in America: Untapped Opportunities for Success. The report celebrates the success and many contributions of Black-owned businesses to their communities by describing the rich diversity of businesses that weave a tapestry of Black business ownership in the United States, assessing the state of Black-owned businesses, and relating the role of business ownership in closing the racial wealth gap. Through this seminal research, AEO examined how Black business owners are wealthier than their non-business owner Black peers, create new wealth faster than wage employees, and create jobs for neighborhood residents by hiring locally. The report went on to identify three critical, interplaying challenges impeding Black business development: massive wealth and credit gaps, and a trust gap fueled by bias. Among the findings, the least well-understood and documented challenge was the trust gap, defined as a persistent wariness that Black businesses experience toward other institutions in their business ecosystem.

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