Second Quarter 2003 ING Gazelle Index Results Reveal African-American CEOs are Confident About Current and Future Business Activity - Positive for the First Time in Over a Year

August 28, 2003 Atlanta Share: Print Subscribe to Email Alerts

With the conflict with Iraq reportedly coming to an end and the U.S. economy up 2.4%, economic confidence about current and future business activity among African-American CEOs reversed from a declining trend and increased to a positive range for the first time in over a year. In the second quarter of 2003, the ING Gazelle Index registered a 52.8 (on a scale of 100), which is up 39% from a 37.9 that was registered in the first quarter of 2003. This upward swing is consistent with the Conference Board’s CEO index.

In addition to the rise in economic confidence, a significantly higher percentage of Gazelle CEOs anticipate increasing future hiring (48%) rather than decreasing hiring (only 9.1%). This is the continuation of a future hiring trend that emerged during the first quarter of 2003.

On May 28, 2003 President George W. Bush signed into law a new Jobs and Growth Plan that lowers taxes. When asked about their outlook as it relates to the plan, Gazelle CEOs are slightly more positive than negative about the new plan as 35.7% of Gazelle CEOs are more optimistic as a result of this plan while 30.9% are more pessimistic. Twenty-four and three-tenths percent (24.3%) indicated that their outlook has not changed as a result of the plan.

For the first time, this quarter, Gazelle CEOs were asked questions regarding the changes in business strategies they have employed to cope with the current economic downturn which began in March of 2001. While these results were not factored into the Index values, the strongest response from Gazelle CEOs indicated that they increased expenditures on marketing, technology, wages and benefits.

The ING Gazelle Index also revealed that while the National African-American Purchasing Power in 2002 was $645.9 billion, only $32.1 billion (or 5 cents of every $1.00) of that was put into African-American-owned businesses.

The ING Gazelle Index is a quarterly national survey of CEOs of the nation’s fastest growing African-American-owned businesses with 10-100 employees. The ING Gazelle Index compiles the positive, negative and neutral views of African-American business owners regarding their businesses and the impact the U.S. economy and political events have on them. The Index serves as a guide and forecasting instrument to companies, potential investors, policy makers and consumers in making informed decisions about the timing of capital investments, strategic planning and overall business development. Second quarter 2003 findings indicate that Gazelle business leaders are more positive than negative about their current and future business outlook.

"It is refreshing to know that for the first time in over a year, economic confidence among African-American CEOs is positive and that despite current unemployment rates, hiring plans continue to remain on the rise," said Allan Baker, Senior Vice President, Domestic Emerging Markets, ING U.S.

"This quarter’s survey incorporated additional aspects along with economic confidence such as the outlook on the President’s tax cut plan and the trends businesses are implementing to deal with the slow economy. ING is pleased to offer this unique educational tool with the primary objective being to provide business owners with insights from their peers that will help them make the best possible decisions about the future of their companies. As economic trends and events continue to change and take place, it will be interesting to see what the results of next quarter’s survey will reveal."

Gazelle Index Components

The ING Gazelle Index is derived from averaging four responses, positive and negative, to questions about the business activity and confidence of African-American business owners. The ING Gazelle Index derives those four measures by asking the following questions:

1. In your opinion are economic conditions better today than six months ago?

  • the second quarter, 21.4% of Gazelle CEOs indicated that conditions were better in comparison to the 11% from the first quarter. While this component of the Index is still more negative than positive, it is up significantly from last quarter.

2. In looking six months into the future, are you more optimistic or more pessimistic about the economy?

  • about the economy six months into the future increased to a rating of 65.6 up from 55.0 from the first quarter of 2003.

3. Is business activity in your company better today than six months ago?

  • of 100, the Index measures 58.9, up significantly from 40.5 in the first quarter of 2003. Approximately 35 percent of the Gazelle CEOs indicated that their business was doing better today than six months ago.

4. As compared to six months ago, has employment in your company increased, decreased or remained the same?

  • of 100, the second quarter Gazelle Index for employment was 51.8, up from 40.0 the previous quarter.

The renewed optimism of the Gazelle CEOs is reflected in the fact that three of the four indicators comprising the index were in the positive range while only one indicator (question 1 regarding economic conditions six months ago) remained in the negative range.

According to the Economic Census data, there are more than 880,000 African-American business owners in the United States, up 46 percent over a 5-year period. Majority-owned firms have grown only 24 percent during the same timeframe.

Visit , to review the full report and click into the minds of CEOs of the nation’s fastest growing African-American-owned businesses.

ING Gazelle Profile Sidebar

Who are the Gazelle CEOs/ Why are they successful?

Here are the results of additional questions asked in the 2nd quarter 2003 ING Gazelle Index survey to get more insight into who the Gazelles are and the traits they feel have influenced their success.

Is There a History of Entrepreneurs in Your Immediate Family?
57.0% - No
42.0% - Yes
1.0% - Unsure

Are The Traits That Made You Successful?
70.6% - Learned
17.1% - Inborn
12.3% - None of the Above

Prior to Becoming an Entrepreneur, What Level of Education Did You Complete?
28.9% - Graduate/Professional Degree
27.5% - College Degree
21.5% - Associate’s Degree
11.5% - High School
7.2% - Post Baccalaureate
3.4% - Technical/Vocational School

As of January 1, 2003, What Age Group Did you All Into?
1.1% - Under 25
4.0% - 25-34
19.4% - 35-44
41.4% - 45-54
23.7% - 55-64
10.3% - 65 or above

How Do You Characterize Yourself Regarding Risk?
67.7% - Moderate Risk-Taker
24.3% - High Risk-Taker
7.4% - Non Risk-Taker
0.6% - No Response

About ING

ING’s U.S. Financial Services operations [] offers a comprehensive array of products and services, including mutual funds; fixed and variable annuities; retirement programs; financial planning; employee benefits; life insurance; and trust services through a variety of distribution channels. ING U.S. Financial Services is part of Amsterdam-based ING Groep N.V., one of the largest integrated financial services organizations in the world.

About Boston Research Group

Atlanta-based Boston Research Group (BRG), headed by Dr. Thomas Boston, conducted the survey on behalf of ING. BRG identified 1,497 African-American-owned businesses whose employment increased by a minimum of 5 percent over the last five years and whose current employment is between 10 and 100 workers. Each quarter 350 of these businesses are surveyed randomly. The survey was constructed to have a margin of error of (+) or (-) 5 percent. The survey for the second quarter ING Gazelle Index was conducted during the second week of July 2003.

Press Contacts

Betsy Helgager - (404) 688-0415 (office) or (404) 771-9793 (cell)
Jemia Kinsey - (404) 433-9614