The story delves into why only 1.5 percent of Inc. 5000 companies are run by black Americans.

History plays a large role, says Algernon Austin, senior research fellow at Washington, D.C.-based think tank Center for Global Policy Solutions. Long-term, systemic oppression has had a dampening effect on entrepreneurship within African American communities. In particular, Austin points to three key problem areas: access to capital, formal education, and personal relationships within the business community.