Mary Jane Maxwell
The U.S. economy is stronger than ever, thanks in large part to businesses like a plastics-recycling company in central Ohio.
Sharad Thakkar, president of Polymer Technologies and Services, said that his company was “investing heavily in new equipment, hiring more employees and expecting significant growth in 2018.”
Thakkar said he decided to start a plastics-recycling business in Ohio because the customers are there. His company buys scrap from local plastic industries that make parts for the regional automotive and home- and lawn-care industries.
“I can transform their throwaway scrap plastic into valuable raw material,” Thakkar said. His company then sells the high-quality raw plastic back to many of the same companies at a reduced cost.
“Owning a business in America is the best place to become a ‘somebody,'” said Thakkar, who came to the U.S. from India to attend graduate school at Kent State University, Ohio, in 1981. He received a Ph.D. in chemistry in 1985 and became an American citizen in 1991.
Thakkar was one of 15 minority business leaders in 2017 to receive a National Minority Enterprise Development Award. In a ceremony last fall honoring the awardees at the White House, President Trump told them, “The work you do and the products and services you bring into this world generate new prosperity across America. For that, we are in your debt.”
Over the past 10 years, the number of minority-owned businesses in the U.S. like Thakkar’s have nearly doubled to around 11.1 million. These companies now employ more than 6.3 million people and generate more than $1.7 trillion in annual revenue. (The figures come from a 2017 report by The Business Journals, a major industry research and media company.)
Hispanic-owned businesses are the fastest growing segment of minority-owned businesses in the U.S. (see chart below).
Overall, women lead about one-fourth of all minority-owned businesses in the U.S.
The U.S. economy is flourishing. According to the latest report from the U.S. Department of Commerce, real gross domestic product (GDP) increased at an annual rate of 3.2 percent in the third quarter of 2017 due to increased consumer spending, inventory investment, business investment and exports. Imports, which reduce gross domestic product values, also decreased in 2017.
Where they work
Minority-owned businesses can be found in virtually all U.S. cities, but the largest concentrations are in the area of New York City and Newark, New Jersey, and the Philadelphia metropolitan region, according to a 2017 U.S. Census Bureau report.
Among U.S. states, California had the most minority-owned businesses, with more than 228,000 enterprises (nearly 30 percent of the nation’s total).
President Trump told the award-winning business leaders that they “represent the best of America and our determination to succeed and to grow.”