June 16 2020

Capital Region Minority-Owned Businesses up 19%

The Capital Region’s ranks of minority- and women-owned businesses (MWBEs) have increased significantly over the last five years, according to a Center for Economic Growth (CEG) analysis of new U.S. Census Bureau data.

The Census Bureau’s new American Business Survey found the region1 had 1,997 minority-owned businesses in 2017, up 19.2 percent from the last survey in 2012. During that five-year period, the number of women-owned businesses increased 12.5 percent to 4,121. That means MBEs now account for one in 10 businesses in the region (9.9 percent) and WBEs account for one in five (20.4 percent). While the number of equally minority- and nonminority-owned businesses declined 5.6 percent to 101, the number of equally owned female- and male-owned businesses increased 17.6 percent to 2,066.

Hispanic- and Asian-owned businesses both saw big gains during the 2012-2017 period, increasing 24.6 percent to 426 and 23.9 percent to 1,414, respectively. Data for black-owned businesses was not available, though nearly 200 are listed in a new Capital Region black-owned business directory compiled by CEG, the Upstate Alliance for the Creative Economy (ACE), Shanekia McIntosh of itheabstract on Instagram and Ada Harper of 518Blk. Among Asian-owned businesses, Indian-owned businesses rose 33.3 percent to 488 and Chinese-owned businesses rose 25.3 percent to 496. 

KeyBank Business Boost & Build

CEG is supporting the formation and growth of local minority and women-owned business enterprises (MWBEs) and disadvantaged small businesses through KeyBank Business Boost & Build (KBBB). For this program, CEG hosts workshops and one-on-one consultations and provides technical support through this program funded by KeyBank. 

In 2019, the KBBB program had the following impacts in the Capital Region:

  • 204 entrepreneurs served
  • 57% MBEs
  • 56% WBEs
  • 26 companies that created jobs in the specified timeframe
  • 110 jobs created by companies in the specified timeframe
  • $1.7 million new capital borrowed or raised since the entrepreneurs started working

Other ways CEG is supporting MWBEs and other small businesses in the Capital Region include:

  • Providing technical assistance to entrepreneurs, including access to labs, office space, and other facilities; venture pitch coaching; and identifying potential mentors and investors.
  • Helping entrepreneurs develop prototypes with CEG’s 3D printer services.



1 Data for the seven-county Albany-Schenectady Combined Statistical Area (i.e., Capital Region w/o Greene County)

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