The term "ethnic entrepreneurship" refers to self-employed business owners who belong to racial or ethnic minority groups in the United States and Europe. A long tradition of academic research explores the experiences and strategies of ethnic entrepreneurs as they strive to integrate economically into mainstream U.S. or European society. Classic cases include Jewish merchants and tradespeople in large U.S. cities in the 19th and early 20th centuries as well as Chinese and Japanese small business owners (restaurants, farmers, shop owners) on the West Coast. In the 2010s, ethnic entrepreneurship has been studied in the case of Cuban business owners in Miami, Indian motel owners of the U.S. and Chinese business owners in Chinatowns across the United States. While entrepreneurship offers these groups many opportunities for economic advancement, self-employment and business ownership in the United States remain unevenly distributed along racial/ethnic lines. Despite numerous success stories of Asian entrepreneurs, a recent statistical analysis of U.S. census data shows that whites are more likely than Asians, African-Americans and Latinos to be self-employed in high prestige, lucrative industries.
Personally answering phones is one of the most significant competitive edges home-based entrepreneurs hold over their larger competitors. In a time of high-tech backlash, where customers are frustrated with automated responses and touch-tone menus, hearing a human voice and is one surefire way to entice new customers and make existing ones feel appreciated — an important fact, given that some 80% of all business is generated from repeat customers.