Are startups making D-FW's entrepreneur community more diverse?

Professor Jerry White, director of SMU’s Caruth Institute for Entrepreneurship, talks about the growing diversity of entrepreneurs in DFW.

By Jill Cowan and Tyler Davis

What does it mean to be an entrepreneur?

For some, the word may not immediately conjure the image of an immigrant restaurateur who grows his business slowly, adding locations only after years of success.

Others may not think of a mother who opens her own consulting shop as the second act in a career spent climbing the ranks of a big corporation.

Now, a new survey of employers -- the result of a partnership between the U.S. Census Bureau, the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and the Minority Business Development Agency -- aims to better understand the full range of the nation’s entrepreneurs.

Texas also ranked third among states for minority business ownership, trailing only Hawaii and California. . . 

Jerry White, director of Southern Methodist University’s Caruth Institute for Entrepreneurship, said he’s noticed that increasing diversity in his classes.

“We have a diverse population, and just your gut instinct would be that you’d like to see the incidence of entrepreneurship at least somewhat reflective of the citizenry,” he said.

That range of perspectives, White said, contributes to the region’s “economic dynamism” and, in turn, powers growth.

It’s straightforward economics, he said.

“When people start and build businesses, they hire other people ... When they stay in business, they accumulate wealth, they buy cars and houses and send their kids to college.”

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