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State-Wide Black Business Survey Explained

State-Wide Black Business Survey Explained
June 20, 2023 Billy George

This Wednesday, the Greater Freeport Partnership and the Illinois Office of Minority Economic Empowerment (OMEE) will host Matthew Simpson, the African American business development manager, to review the results of the Black Business Survey conducted by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity in 2021-22. The program will be held at 5 pm this Wednesday, June 21 at the Stephenson County Farm Bureau. All are welcome to attend. Elected officials and black business owners and managers are especially encouraged to participate.

The data in the survey tries to understand racial disparities in small businesses and entrepreneurs and what communities can do to help bridge this gap. According to the most recent American Communities Survey data available, Black people make up approximately 14% of the state’s population. While Black businesses make up approximately 11% of all businesses in Illinois, they comprise only 2% of the state’s 243,465 employer businesses1. This data and the findings from the Black Business Survey serve an impactful purpose: how can Illinois’ stakeholders collaborate to empower and support Black business owners that have long faced systemic barriers to growth?

The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO), Chicago State University, and the Chicago Urban League launched the Illinois Black Business Survey in late 2021. This first-of-its-kind statewide Black Business Survey solicited information directly from Black-owned businesses to provide empirical context to better understand the unique challenges facing Black-owned businesses across the state. The Black Business Survey was undertaken with the goal to learn directly from business owners about the challenges and opportunities they faced in order to bring stakeholders together to foster collaborative, impactful support.

Please join us on Wednesday to learn more and be a part of a collaboration to bring change for our business owners.


Today, Monday June 19 is Juneteenth, a federal holiday started in the United States in 2021 commemorating the emancipation of enslaved African Americans. Deriving its name from combining June and nineteenth, it is celebrated on the anniversary of the order by Major General Gordon Granger proclaiming freedom for slaves in Texas (the last state in the country to do so) on June 19, 1865.


1 U.S. Census Bureau 2018 & 2020 Annual Business Survey