Idaho is more than 82 percent white. Just 12 percent of the state is Hispanic or Latino, and less than one percent of residents are African American.
The U.S. Census numbers also say, when it comes to business, the state lacks diversity. Hispanic-owned businesses make up just 2.6 percent of firms in Idaho. African American-owned businesses are at just .2 percent.
The Responsible Business Initiative at Boise State’s College of Business and Economics is holding a diversity summit in Boise on Wednesday to look at diversity and inclusion in small, large and non-profit organizations.
Taylor Reed is one of the organizers of the summit. She says more diversity in business will help Idaho.
“It helps people connect with a wider variety of consumers,” Reed says. “If you have a homogeneous group of business leaders or marketers or product developers, they might not be able to identify with a consumer group as well as wider groups of people.” She says more diverse businesses may have more experiences with different cultures, different genders, or ages, or people who have different thoughts.
She says getting more diversity in the Treasure Valley is a little like the chicken and the egg paradigm.
“A lot of people don’t want to come here because it’s not a diverse space, but at the same time we’re trying to develop that base.” She says some people are deterred by our lack of diversity.
Reed says the area can change that through things by pulling people and businesses together who are interested in how they can create a more inclusive environment.
The “Diversity as a Business Driver” summit is co-sponsored by the City of Boise and Wells Fargo.
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