Metro Atlanta’s Black business landscape by the numbers

Four numbers to know about the city’s Black-owned businesses
071322 Atlanta: Good As Burgers owners Talia Jones, her daughter Bella Skyy, 3, and her fiancee Corney Watking participate in a ribbon cutting ceremony for the inaugural BeltLine MarketPlace collaboration under the Freedom Parkway Bridge, on Wednesday, July 13, 2022, in Atlanta. The new pilot program offers pop-up storefront space for local, Black-owned businesses including Good As Burgers in refurbished shipping containers along the Atlanta BeltLine in two different areas.  “Curtis Compton / Curtis Compton@ajc.com”

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@

071322 Atlanta: Good As Burgers owners Talia Jones, her daughter Bella Skyy, 3, and her fiancee Corney Watking participate in a ribbon cutting ceremony for the inaugural BeltLine MarketPlace collaboration under the Freedom Parkway Bridge, on Wednesday, July 13, 2022, in Atlanta. The new pilot program offers pop-up storefront space for local, Black-owned businesses including Good As Burgers in refurbished shipping containers along the Atlanta BeltLine in two different areas. “Curtis Compton / Curtis Compton@ajc.com”

Atlanta is known for many things across the cultural, culinary and political worlds. A recent report has also named metro Atlanta as the nation’s hub for Black-owned businesses.

Here are four key numbers to know about the region’s Black business landscape:

8,663

The number of Black-owned employer businesses in metro Atlanta, according to the 2021 U.S. Census Annual Business Survey, the most recent data available. The survey looked at businesses that had a payroll in the Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Alpharetta metro area at any point in 2020.

7.4%

The percentage of businesses in metro Atlanta owned by African Americans. A report from online loan marketplace LendingTree found that the Atlanta region has the highest rate of Black-owned businesses in the United States. Nationally, 2.4% of employer businesses are Black owned, an Atlanta Journal-Constitution analysis of census data shows.

And looking at just the city of Atlanta, the rate of Black businesses is a lot higher: about 20% of the city’s businesses are Black-owned, according to economic development authority Invest Atlanta.

But for a city with a population that is 44% Black, according to 2021 Census data, there is a stark difference in the population of the city and how it is represented in the business community.

Across the country, the Annual Business Survey estimates there were 140,918 Black-owned businesses in 2020, with $141 billion in annual receipts and 1.3 million employees.

2,111

The number of Black-owned businesses in metro Atlanta in the health care and social assistance industry. This is the most common sector for Black businesses in the region, according to census data. Other common sectors include:

  • Professional, scientific and technical services: 1,471 businesses
  • Transportation and warehousing: 765 businesses
  • Accommodation and food services: 636 business
  • Retail trade: 472 businesses

Looking at Black-owned business across the country, more than a quarter — 27.5% — were in the health care and social assistance sector, according to census figures.

$350 million

The biggest amount of funding raised by a metro Atlanta Black-owned business, Crunchbase data shows. In January 2021, Calendly, a company that helps people schedule meetings, announced it had closed a $350 million investment, catapulting the company’s valuation to $3 billion.

It is rare for a startup to be valued at $1 billion or more, which is known as “unicorn” status in the venture capital world. It is even rarer for a Black-founded company to achieve that status. In the past decade, fewer than 2% of the 400 U.S. unicorn startups were Black founded, according to McKinsey.

And of the six unicorns headquartered in Atlanta, only Calendly has a Black founder.


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