New York (Nov. 27, 2002) -- More than half of a representative sampling of minority business owners are using the latest technology to help run their operations, but many others avoid it for fear of de-personalizing their services, a study has found.

The study, funded by Merrill Lynch and conducted by the Community Development Technologies Center, found that many small business owners -- particularly retailers -- avoid new technologies because they are not familiar with it and think it might interfere with the personal service they provide to customers.

"Businesses that use new technologies grow faster and add employees at a faster rate," said Dr. Denise Fairchild, President of CDTech. "Though many business owners think they don't need to access technology, in fact we found that technology is a critical component in ensuring that these businesses thrive."

Other findings:

  • Fifty-one percent of minority-owned business in Los Angeles and Orange counties (an area considered a national bellwether for minority enterprises) use the latest computer technology in their operations, while 38 percent use the Internet.
  • African-American-owned firms surveyed use technology at higher rates than other minority groups.
  • Retail firms use technology the least, but benefit more than manufacturing and service businesses in terms of increased revenue and job growth from technology use.
  • The perceived cost of technology and expertise required presented barriers for many business owners.

"In particular, we found that retail businesses can benefit significantly by embracing new technology," Dr. Fairchild said. "We hope that technology companies and small retailers will see this as an opportunity to promote growth among these retailers."To view the study online, visit  or .

-- Electronic Accountant Newswire staff

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