Discover the 10 Best Cities for Minority Entrepreneurs in 2024

Are you a minority entrepreneur looking for the ideal place to start or expand your business? With the right location and support ecosystem, your venture can thrive. We‘ve analyzed the data and gathered insights from successful founders to bring you this list of the 10 best U.S. cities for minority entrepreneurs in 2024.

Methodology

To determine the top cities for underrepresented business owners, we evaluated metrics including:

  • Number, percentage and revenue of minority-owned businesses
  • Minority population percentages
  • Resources, programs and funding for minority entrepreneurs
  • Diversity, inclusion and minority business recognition
  • Cost of living and doing business
  • Major industries for minority-owned firms

We also conducted interviews with minority business leaders and entrepreneurs in each city to gather on-the-ground perspectives.

1. Atlanta, GA

The Minority Business Mecca

Atlanta is widely regarded as the best major U.S. city for Black entrepreneurs. Georgia‘s capital now has the highest percentage of Black-owned businesses in the nation at a remarkable 30.6%, according to the U.S. Census Bureau‘s most recent Annual Business Survey. That‘s over 35,000 Black-owned firms generating more than $4.5 billion in annual revenue.

"Atlanta has a powerful culture of Black excellence and entrepreneurship," said Shanterria Simms, co-founder of the marketing agency Blandeur. "From small businesses to major corporations, there‘s a strong ecosystem here supporting and celebrating Black founders."

The Metro Atlanta Chamber reports the city is also home to over 13,000 Hispanic-owned businesses, 12,000 Asian-owned firms and thousands more owned by other minority groups. Organizations like the Greater Atlanta Black Chamber of Commerce, the Atlanta Metropolitan Black Chamber of Commerce, Prospanica Atlanta and the Georgia Minority Supplier Development Council provide extensive resources and networks for underrepresented founders.

Atlanta‘s affordability is another major draw for minority entrepreneurs. The cost of living is 1.7% below the national average, while office space and commercial real estate are up to 60% cheaper than coastal startup hubs like New York and San Francisco, according to CBRE.

Metric Value
Black-owned businesses 35,000+
Hispanic-owned businesses 13,000+
Asian-owned businesses 12,000+
Black-owned businesses annual revenue $4.5B
Cost of living compared to U.S. average -1.7%

Success Story: Goodr

One shining example of Atlanta‘s Black tech ecosystem is Jasmine Crowe, founder and CEO of the food waste management platform Goodr. The startup uses blockchain technology to help businesses reduce food waste and combat hunger by donating surplus food. Goodr has diverted over 30 million pounds of food from landfills and serves a roster of major corporate clients including Netflix, Google, and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

Crowe credits Atlanta‘s supportive environment for minority entrepreneurs as key to Goodr‘s success. "Being able to tap into the knowledge and experience of other Black founders in the tech space was invaluable," she told Hypepotamus. "Atlanta has a strong culture of not only building great companies but lifting each other up in the process."

2. Washington, DC

The Capital of Inclusive Innovation

Washington, D.C. is a powerhouse for minority-owned businesses, especially Black and Hispanic entrepreneurs. The nation‘s capital has the second-highest percentage of Black-owned employer firms nationwide at 28.3%, representing over 9,000 companies. D.C. also has over 6,000 Hispanic-owned businesses, comprising 14.6% of firms in the city.

"D.C. has an incredibly vibrant and collaborative community of Black and Hispanic entrepreneurs," said Melissa Bradley, founder of the inclusive entrepreneurship platform 1863 Ventures. "There‘s a wealth of resources here for underrepresented founders to tap into, from capital to contracts to mentorship."

Initiatives like the District‘s Aspire to Entrepreneurship program and Inclusive Innovation Incubator provide targeted support for minorities starting small businesses. The Washington D.C. Economic Partnership offers its own Minority and Women-Owned Business Incubator. Groups like the D.C. Black Chamber, the Greater Washington Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and the D.C. Minority Business Enterprise Center also champion local minority-owned firms.

While D.C. has a higher cost of living than other cities on this list, minority entrepreneurs benefit from proximity to lucrative government contracts. The federal government aims to award at least 16.6% of all contracting dollars to minority and women-owned businesses.

Metric Value
Black-owned employer firms 28.3%
Hispanic-owned businesses 14.6%
Federal minority contracting goal 16.6%

Success Story: RASA

D.C. minority founders are making their mark across industries. Fast-casual Indian restaurant chain RASA is one standout. Co-founders Rahul Vinod and Sahil Rahman, both first-generation Indian Americans, launched RASA to make South Asian cuisine more authentic and accessible.

The fast-growing concept now has four locations across the D.C. area and has earned rave reviews from the Washington Post, Bon Appétit, and Food & Wine. RASA has also garnered investment from celebrity investors like Whole Foods CEO Walter Robb.

"Being able to build our business in such a diverse, internationally-oriented city has been hugely beneficial," Vinod said. "D.C. diners have embraced our concept, and the local restaurant community has been incredibly welcoming to us as minority entrepreneurs."

3. Los Angeles, CA

The Minority Majority Boomtown

With Hollywood, Silicon Beach and over 400,000 minority-owned businesses, Los Angeles is a dream destination for many underrepresented entrepreneurs. L.A. County has the highest number and percentage of Hispanic-owned firms of any major U.S. metro at over 180,000, generating over $36 billion in annual revenue. The City of Angels also leads the nation for Asian-owned companies, topping 70,000.

"L.A. is one of the most diverse cities in the world and minority entrepreneurs can find community here in whatever they do," said Beatriz Acevedo, founder of financial education platform Suma Wealth. "The sheer size of the Hispanic, Asian, Black and other ethnic communities in L.A. means minority-owned businesses have a huge built-in market to serve."

Organizations like the Greater Los Angeles African American Chamber of Commerce, the Latin Business Association, the Asian Business Association, and the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce L.A. chapter all support the region‘s minority entrepreneurs with networking, funding and mentorship programs.

L.A. is also home to a growing number of minority-focused incubators, accelerators and funds like Plug In South LA, the Latinx Incubator, Vamos Ventures, and Pledge LA, a collective of L.A. venture capital firms aiming to back underrepresented founders.

Metric Value
Hispanic-owned businesses 180,000+
Asian-owned businesses 70,000+
Hispanic-owned businesses annual revenue $36B+

Success Story: Sabio

With tech giants like Snap, Tinder and SpaceX calling L.A. home, the region has also become a hotbed for minority tech founders.

One venture making waves is the coding bootcamp Sabio, co-founded by Latino entrepreneurs Gregorio Rojas and Liliana Monge. Sabio aims to build diverse tech talent through project-based training in fields like cybersecurity, AI and digital health.

"There is an incredible amount of opportunity here but we need more women and people of color actually building the technology that impacts our lives," Monge said. "L.A. has been the perfect place for us to develop homegrown talent and create onramps into tech for minority communities."

Since launching in 2016, Sabio has trained over 500 aspiring software engineers and landed major partnerships with companies like Google, Microsoft and the Los Angeles Chargers. The startup has also been recognized as an SBA Startup of the Year and raised millions in funding to expand access to tech careers.

4. Miami, FL

The Gateway for Hispanic Entrepreneurs

Miami is an entrepreneurial boomtown and gateway to Latin America, ranking fourth nationwide for Hispanic-owned businesses. The Miami metro area is now home to over 150,000 Hispanic-owned firms generating over $20 billion in annual revenue, according to the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

Cuban Americans own the largest share of Hispanic businesses in Miami, followed by Venezuelan, Colombian, Nicaraguan and Puerto Rican entrepreneurs. Many leverage the city‘s bilingual workforce and business ties to Latin America to build international companies.

"Miami is a city built by immigrant entrepreneurs that has evolved into a true hub for Hispanic-owned businesses," said Claudia Durán, founder of Avisora, a marketing consultancy that helps brands reach Hispanic consumers. "There‘s an incredible energy and work ethic here, plus a natural market of over 5 million Spanish speakers in South Florida."

The Beacon Council, Miami‘s economic development partnership, offers a range of programs to support minority-owned businesses, including the Miami-Dade Minority Business Enterprise Program and the Supplier Diversity Development Program. The Florida State Minority Supplier Development Council is also headquartered in Miami.

Metric Value
Hispanic-owned businesses 150,000+
Hispanic-owned businesses annual revenue $20B+
South Florida Spanish speakers 5M+

Success Story: Camino Financial

Miami‘s diverse fintech scene has attracted hundreds of international entrepreneurs, including Sean Salas, co-founder and CEO of Camino Financial. The online lending platform aims to help U.S. Latino small business owners access affordable capital and improve their financial health.

A son of Latino immigrants and small business owners himself, Salas saw firsthand how the inability to secure funding held back minority-owned companies. "Growing up, I watched my parents get denied by bank after bank when they tried to finance their businesses," he said. "I knew there had to be a better way to get Latino entrepreneurs the capital they need to grow."

Since launching in 2016, Camino Financial has provided over $25 million in loans to underserved Latino entrepreneurs, maintaining a 4.9/5 customer rating. The startup has been named an Endeavor Entrepreneur and raised over $8 million in funding.

5. Chicago, IL

The Midwestern Minority Business Hub

The Windy City is a major center for minority entrepreneurship, with over 50,000 Black-owned businesses, 20,000 Hispanic-owned firms and 10,000 Asian-owned companies in the metro area. While Chicago faces challenges with segregation and inequality, the city has a strong network of organizations and initiatives supporting minority founders.

"Chicago has a long history of Black entrepreneurship and a collaborative ecosystem committed to empowering the next generation of minority innovators," said Sandee Kastrul, president and co-founder of i.c.stars, a technology workforce training provider for underserved communities.

Entrepreneurial support organizations like the Chicago Urban League‘s NextOne program, BLUE1647 technology innovation center, and the Hatchery food business incubator are working to build a more inclusive startup community. The city is also home to several venture capital funds focused on minority founders such as Cleveland Avenue, Chingona Ventures, LongJump, and CAST US.

"We‘re seeing a lot more intentionality around supporting Black, Latinx and women entrepreneurs in Chicago," said Geraldine Contreras, managing partner at Chingona Ventures. "Investors are starting to recognize the massive untapped potential of these communities and actively seeking out diverse founders to back."

Metric Value
Black-owned businesses 50,000+
Hispanic-owned businesses 20,000+
Asian-owned businesses 10,000+

Success Story: AYO Foods

One Chicago startup showcasing the power of diversity is AYO Foods, which brings West African cuisine to the mainstream American table. Wife-and-husband co-founders Perteet and Fred Spencer, both Liberian immigrants, launched the brand in 2019 to share bold African flavors with the world.

"Chicago is such a great food city but we saw a real lack of African cuisine at the retail level," said Perteet Spencer. "We wanted to celebrate the vibrant ingredients and tastes passed down through generations while making them accessible to the standard U.S. consumer."

AYO‘s frozen entrees and hot sauces are now sold in over 4,000 grocery stores nationwide, including Whole Foods, Target and Kroger. In 2021, the startup raised a $1.5 million seed round led by Cleveland Avenue to expand production and add new product lines.

The Next Frontier

As minority entrepreneurs continue breaking barriers, many smaller cities are also emerging as welcoming hubs for underrepresented founders. These rising stars are attracting diverse talent with lower costs of living and doing business, supportive ecosystems, and a focus on inclusive economic development:

  • Charlotte, NC: With a growing population of Black and Hispanic residents, Charlotte is making major strides to boost minority entrepreneurship. Over 23,000 minority-owned businesses call the Queen City home. Support organizations like the Carolinas-Virginia Minority Supplier Development Council and City Startup Labs provide mentorship and funding.

  • St. Louis, MO: St. Louis ranks among the top U.S. cities for early-stage startups and boasts over 15,000 minority-owned employer firms. Black and Hispanic entrepreneurs are thriving in industries from construction to biotech, supported by groups like the St. Louis Minority Business Council and the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan St. Louis.

  • Baltimore, MD: Known as the "City of Firsts" for its history of African American innovation, Baltimore is a haven for Black creatives and entrepreneurs. The city has over 30,000 Black-owned businesses and initiatives like the Baltimore Business Lending microloan program to support their growth. Johns Hopkins University‘s 21st Century Cities program is also working to spur inclusive economic development.

  • Oakland, CA: Across the bay from San Francisco, Oakland has become a sanctuary city for diverse founders priced out of Silicon Valley. The birthplace of the Black Panther Party is now home to over 25,000 minority-owned businesses and a wealth of accelerators and incubators supporting women and entrepreneurs of color. The Unity Council, ICA Fund Good Jobs, and Kapor Capital are just a few of the organizations championing inclusive innovation in The Town.

As minority entrepreneurs continue to drive economic growth and job creation nationwide, cities that cultivate ecosystems of diversity and inclusion will rise to the top. By breaking down barriers and expanding access to capital, resources and networks for underrepresented founders, these 10 cities are lighting the path toward a more equitable and prosperous future. Their success offers a roadmap for other rising hubs aiming to unlock the full potential of minority entrepreneurship.

Minority entrepreneurs: As you embark on your entrepreneurial journeys, seek out cities and ecosystems that will empower you to thrive. Remember that your unique perspectives and experiences are your superpowers. When you tap into the wealth of resources and knowledge in these inclusive innovation hubs, there‘s no limit to the impact you can make.