Chasing the Dream: Minority Entrepreneurs

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Today we commemorate the life of civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr. and remember the dream he shared with the world. As he fought to end racial discrimination in the United States, King drew on the American Dream rooted in the Declaration of Independence: that all men and women are created equal and are endowed with certain unalienable rights—life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

In the business world, nothing captures the ethos of the American Dream quite like entrepreneurship—taking an idea and building a business from the ground up. Although the United States has seen enormous progress in civil rights since King’s day, a study by BYU marketing professor Glenn Christensen suggests there is still room for improvement.

His study, published in the Journal of Consumer Research, found that minority entrepreneurs face more roadblocks in acquiring bank loans and are less likely to secure business financing than their white counterparts.

“There is a general belief among Americans that we’re in the land of opportunity and that anyone can pull themselves up by their bootstraps,” Christensen says. “It is a land of opportunity, but that opportunity is not always equally accessible.”

Read more about the challenges of minority entrepreneurs in the article “Broken Dream” in the Fall 2015 issue of Marriott Alumni Magazine.