KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Black women are the fastest growing group of business owners in the nation, according to the Federal Reserve Bank. And nowhere has more black women starting businesses than in Missouri.
The bank study says black women have an increasing role in the growth of our economy, providing jobs and opportunities for others.
Tenesia Looney just celebrated 15 years owning a real estate brokerage in Kansas City's urban core, focusing on helping minorities become homeowners.
She started learning the business by herself, but now has five other agents working for her.
The Federal Reserve says of all the businesses owned by blacks, six out of ten are owned by black women, the only ethnic group where women own a majority of businesses.
Looney believes most women don't have a choice but to succeed.
"I don’t think there’s ever a fail," Looney said. "I think there’s a learn. There’s always going to be obstacles. We as women are used to overcoming obstacles. It’s our gift that God gave us as women to be able to do. Now whether we use it or not that’s one thing. Right now is the time to do it and don’t worry about the hurdles. There’s always going to be something."
The Federal Reserve study says black women often must overcome a lack of mentoring and information about business operations.
Looney credits her sister for encouraging her to quit a job and strike out on her own. Her sister had a real estate business in Georgia, another top state for entrepreneurial black women.
The report says six percent of all American businesses were owned by black women in 2012, and has been growing at a faster rate than for other women owned operations.
The Association for Enterprise Opportunity says supporting those women helps the communities they live in.