Believe it or not, the Midwest might be a land of promise for Black entrepreneurs. Several markets in the Midwest are growing at a faster rate than the US economy. In other words, everyone need not move to Atlanta to make it — opportunity abounds, we just have to open our eyes.
Essence Magazine recently highlighted the city of Cincinnati for its economic growth and promise for Black entrepreneurs, in particular. But Cleveland’s economy recently posted even better economic growth numbers than Cincinnati, as did Indianapolis and Detroit. This might come as a surprise for many, especially those who believe opportunity exists only in the “Sunbelt” or hot media markets. There is money to be made in many places and perhaps with less competition, if you’re open to it.
Migration patterns often mirror familial ties or popular narratives. For example, my family settled in Cleveland, largely because other family members had previously gone there, from Georgia. Speaking of Georgia, many Black folks in the 90’s headed to Atlanta in droves, largely because there was a perception, a narrative that you could “blow up” if you went to the ATL. Those factors might be helpful but they don’t always tell the entire story — numbers matter and they don’t lie. Perhaps, if we really want to achieve success, we should be willing to consider factors beyond those we typically take in.
There isn’t just one place for Black entrepreneurs to thrive. Success can happen anywhere and at any time. It is helpful, however, to study larger trends and economic conditions when deciding where to pursue our passions. Maybe you have the right product, work ethic, marketing and determination but you’re just not in the ideal location to break out in the way you’d like to. Sometimes a geographical shift is in order and just maybe, the Midwest should be on your radar.