The small business sector in the United States has traditionally been viewed as a strong source of economic growth and prosperity, as entrepreneurship epitomizes the quintessential American fantasy of rugged individualism. Given the myths about larger-than-life entrepreneurial heroes, business development has historically been touted as a viable trajectory toward economic and social mobility for immigrant groups and marginalized people. Stories about "great" American businessmen such as John D. Rockefeller, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs among others, often highlight rags-to-riches myths about innumerable possibilities within American capitalism given diligence, fierce competition, and an uncompromising work ethic. The work values of small business owners are what Max Weber identified as the "Protestant Work Ethic." According to Weber, this ideal type American worker has an unsurpassed commitment to hard work, perseverance, frugality, a need to achieve, and a need for work to be meaningful. Interestingly, however, the Black entrepreneur is rarely described as such. Researchers and policymakers who critique small business ownership fail to draw on available historical data, which speaks to the Black experience in business, in order to show how Blacks also exhibited this valuable work ethic.


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