There are about 8 million minority-owned businesses in the United States, according to a 2012 survey by the Census Bureau. Of these, about 2.5 million are owned by African-Americans. African-American-owned firms account for about 10 percent of the approximately 27 million in total of U.S businesses. These black-owned firms raked in more than $185 billion in gross receipts and had more than a million people on their payrolls, the Census Bureau reports. This compares to total gross receipts of $1.6 trillion for all minority-owned firms, and $33.5 trillion for all U.S. firms.
Here’s a look the top revenue of these black-owned businesses for 2014, by revenue, based on a ranking by Black Enterprise magazine. Several of these firms are suppliers to the automotive industry, while there are also a few enterprises in the food services industry. (See also: Auto Parts Suppliers Benefit From Growing DIY Trend.)
- World Wide Technology, Inc., a Maryland Heights, Mo-based IT products and services firm, was started in 1990 by David Steward, who remains chairman of the board. This firm enables its customers to implement technology. With more than $6 billion in revenue at the end of 2013, the firm employs about 3,000 people.
- ACT-1 Group, Inc. a business founded by Janice Bryant Howroyd in 1978, is a global firm that helps other businesses manage their workforce and employment needs. Based in Torrance, Calif., the firm started off as an employment agency. As of 2013, the firm employed more than 2,000 people and its revenues were about $2.2 billion.
- Bridgewater Interiors, LLC a Detroit-based firm, is in the business of supplying automotive parts. Founded in 1998 and led by CEO Ronald Hall, Sr., the firm is a joint venture between Epsilon Technologies and Johnson Controls, Inc. With an employee base of about 1,500, the firm generated $1.5 billion in revenue at yearend 2013.
- Modular Assembly Innovations LLC is another firm in the automotive parts manufacturing business, Modular Assembly Innovations is based in Dublin, Ohio, with CEO Billy Vickers at the helm. The firm employs about 250 people and enjoyed revenues of about $1.2 billion at the end of 2013.
- Manna Inc., a Louisville, Ky.-based company makes its money as a fast food franchise business. Led by CEO Ulysses Bridgeman, Jr., this firm is now the second-largest Wendy’s franchise owner in the United States, according to Louisville Business News. Employing about 14,000 people, the firm enjoyed revenues of about $630 million in 2013.
- The Anderson-Dubose Company is another black-owned firm whose success is based in the food industry. This Lordstown, Ohio-based firm is engaged in the business of providing food and paper supplies to McDonald’s and Chipotle restaurants. Under CEO Warren E. Anderson, the firm employed about 400 people and generated about $545 million in revenue in 2013.
- Detroit-based Global Automotive Alliance, LLC an automotive parts supplier, started off in 1999 as an alliance of participating companies that did business with automobile manufacturers. Under CEO William F. Pickard, the company employed about 1400 people and made about $520 million in revenue as of 2013.
- Reston, Va.-based Thompson Hospitality is in the food services and restaurant business, providing contracted food services to corporations and also running its own restaurants. CEO Warren Thompson started off in 1992 by buying up 31 restaurants. As of 2013, the firm employed more than 4,000 people and had about $485 million in revenues.
- While Radio One, Inc. (ROIAK) is a publicly traded company with a market capitalization of about $90 million, listed on the NASDAQ exchange, Black Enterprise reports that the majority of the company’s voting stock is held by African-Americans. This Silver Spring, Md.-based company is primarily in the radio broadcasting business, with African-Americans as its core target audience.The firm, whose CEO is Alfred Liggins, III, employs more than 1,000 people. In 2013, the firm’s revenues were about $450 million.
10. Based in Warren, Mich., SET Enterprises, Inc., provides metal processing services. Its customer base is primarily in the automotive industry. Under the leadership of CEO Sid E. Taylor, the firm employed around 400 people and generated about $400 million in revenue as of 2013.
Another black-owned business to watch, even though it is not big enough right now to make the Black Enterprise list, is Patti LaBelle’s food empire. LaBelle’s sweet potato pies have been selling very fast this Thanksgiving season, generating about $1 million in sales at Walmart stores just over one November weekend. Also of note, Harpo Productions Inc. is a multimedia empire founded by renowned entrepreneur and celebrated media celebrity Oprah Winfrey.
The Bottom Line
Black-owned businesses account for about 10 percent of U.S. businesses, and about 30 percent of all minority-owned businesses. Looking at the top 10 black-owned businesses by revenue, a number of these firms find their success in the automotive supplies niche and the food industry. Most of these firms were established in the last few decades, and many are still led by their entrepreneurial founders. Annual revenue of these top 10 firms ranges from a high of $6 billion to a low of around $400 million. Most of these companies are based in the Midwest, South, or Washington, DC metropolitan area, with an exception being ACT-1 Group, Inc based in Torrance, California and founded by notable female entrepreneur Janice Bryant Howroyd. Other remarkable black female entrepreneurs include Patti LaBelle and of course Oprah Winfrey, one of the most powerful and successful media entrepreneurs in American history.
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