More than money : defining Black business success in New Orleans
Author(s)Jordan, Dasjon Semaj.
Defining Black business success in New Orleans
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Urban Studies and Planning.
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In academic literature and professional support, small business success for Black entrepreneurs across the U.S. has been defined through narrow and pessimistic lenses. Expectations of high economic yield and employment have been the main measures of their success or failure. However, in New Orleans, Black entrepreneurship has yielded spirits of social impact and self-determination. This thesis hypothesizes that Black business success requires more than economic viability to be considered valuable by the entrepreneurs themselves, aiming to contribute to the social and cultural atmosphere. In order to understand how Black business success has been interpreted, this thesis places Black businesses of New Orleans in the larger context of historic literature about Black entrepreneurship, as well as writings about sense of culture and home. With Black small businesses in New Orleans.They are further contextualized by citing my personal experience -as a Black New Orleanian customer seeing analogy between their spaces and common spaces within Black New Orleanian homes [particularly the Shotgun house] - and historic documentation of two of the city's and country's earliest sites of entrepreneurship. Interviews with four Black business owners - a bookstore owner, a coffee shop owner, artist gallery owner and dance studio owner - in New Orleans are used to qualitatively explore self-determined notions of success in entrepreneurship, connections to local culture and to explore new possible frames for measuring value generated in addition to economic gain. Further analysis of small business support and economic development organizations suggests value misalignment and barriers within their initiatives' applications potentially inhibiting Black business success as defined by business owners.The thesis concludes with general recommendations about the importance Black business as a site of culture and a part of culture, citing potential implications funding, urban design and city planning support in New Orleans.
This electronic version was submitted by the student author. The certified thesis is available in the Institute Archives and Special Collections.Thesis: M.C.P., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Department of Urban Studies and Planning, 2019Cataloged from student-submitted PDF version of thesis.Includes bibliographical references (pages 58-59).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Urban Studies and Planning
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Urban Studies and Planning.