Preprint / Version 1

Economic Disparities Among Small Business Owners in Small-Town America


  • Shivang Giri Hillsborough High School



Economics: Study of how resources are allocated and managed among small businesses, specifically focusing on the financial challenges faced by female and minority entrepreneurs in Hillsborough, New Jersey, and their implications on access to loans, business outcomes, and overall economic disparities., Small Business: Businesses with gross revenues that do not exceed $3 million., Minority: A person whose race or ethnicity is a non-dominant race within the group., Gender: Sex assigned at birth.


“The land of equal opportunity,” a minority entrepreneur describes what she had always pictured the United States to be. After struggling to obtain a business loan, she says that her business is finally starting to see some success. Hundreds of thousands of entrepreneurs have similar dreams of owning a successful business, but over 60% of female and minority small business owners struggle to do so, per a 2023 Bankrate report [2]. In this study, 25 small businesses in Hillsborough, New Jersey, responded to a survey confirming similar national trends among entrepreneurs. These results, representative of 25% of Hillsborough’s small businesses, indicated that female and minority-owned businesses face greater difficulty obtaining financial assistance and managing their business along with personal responsibilities. Furthermore, Hillsborough was chosen due to its upper-middle-class characteristics, thus making the study’s results applicable across similar towns in the United States. The paper concludes by analyzing potential solutions to these disparities. 



Asiedu, Elizabeth, et al. “Access to Credit by Small Businesses: How Relevant Are Race, Ethnicity, and Gender?” American Economic Review,

Haughn, Raija. “Guide for Women Entrepreneurs.” Bankrate,

“Hillsborough Business Association.” Hillsborough New Jersey, 23 Aug. 2023,

Read, Lauren Helena. “The Financing of Small Business: A Comparative Study of Male and Female Small Business Owners.” Routledge & CRC Press, Routledge, 1 Apr. 1998,

“Women Securing Capital.” Capital One, Capital One, 26 Oct. 2023,

U.S. Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship,

Molly E. Reynolds, Adrianna Pita, and Valerie Wirtschafter. “Black-Owned Businesses in U.S. Cities: The Challenges, Solutions, and Opportunities for Prosperity.” Brookings, 25 June 2023,

Orozco, Marlene, et al. “2021 State of Latino Entrepreneurship.” Stanford Graduate School of Business, 1 Jan. 2022,

“Black History Month Survey: Legacy and Community Prevail against Social and Economic Inequalities.” QuickBooks, 6 Feb. 2023,

SBA’s Office of Advocacy – SBA’s Office of Advocacy,

Fairlie, Robert W., and Alicia M. Robb. “Race and Entrepreneurial Success: Black-, Asian-, and White-Owned Businesses in the United States.” MIT Press, The MIT Press, 11 July 2008,

Small Business Credit Survey - Philadelphiafed.Org,

Newport Business Operators Survey - Community Economic Development,