Abstract for: Promoting Success of Women of Color Entrepreneurs in the United States

The System Dynamics (SD) model presented simulates the systematic challenges impacting the success of women of color (WoC) entrepreneurs in the United States. The model was implemented in Vensimâ„¢ and illustrates WoC entrepreneurs' navigation through the start-up and maturation of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The authors calibrated and validated the model with publicly available data. This model is the first ever SD model of the successes and failures of WoC who pursue owning and operating their own small businesses. Most SMEs do not succeed in the long term (beyond 5 years of existence). In the model, the authors found the greatest impact for increasing successful WoC SMEs is attained by the reduction of failure rates for businesses less than five years old rather than increasing success rates no matter the age of a business. Also explored was the impact of shocks to the system including the global financial crisis that began in 2008 and the global COVID-19 pandemic that began in 2020. In addition to simulating the behavior of the US SME system, the model has the potential to inform effective educational, policy-making, and programmatic approaches to support the success of WoC entrepreneurs in the United States.