Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Executive Leadership

First Supervisor

Guillermo Montes

Second Supervisor

Matthew Augustine


African American males have a long-standing history of entrepreneurship dating back to the pre-Civil War era. Historically, they faced many challenges in this endeavor, including racism, lack of experience, and undercapitalization. African American males start businesses at a rate higher than their White counterparts, are confident in their ability to succeed, but are less successful in achieving an established business beyond 4 years. This study used grounded theory methodology to identify key success factors that contribute to the business survival rate of African American male entrepreneurs. Study participants were successful African American male entrepreneurs from the western New York area. Purposive sampling was used to deliberately select participants. Data was collected from face-to-face interviews with participants. The emergent theory from this study showed that there were six key factors needed to ensure business success for African American male entrepreneurs. Three were common for all entrepreneurs (opportunity recognition, use of mentors, detailed business knowledge), and three additional factors were critical to the success of African American male entrepreneurs (strategies to access financial capital, prepare for direct and systemic racism, resilient mindset). This study has national economic significance for African American male entrepreneurs. The findings revealed the difficulties they experienced on a daily basis, both interacting with customers and suppliers, as well as, with banks and other financial institutions in securing financial capital.

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