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IPFS News Link • Entrepreneurship

Occupational Licenses Are Killing Minority Entrepreneurship

•, Alfredo Ortiz

Ashley N'Dakpri runs Afro Touch, a hair-braiding salon in Louisiana. She wants to hire more stylists to meet demand, but Louisiana's strict occupational licensing regulations prevent her from doing so.

Ashley legally isn't allowed to hire new stylists unless they have a cosmetologist's license, a certification that requires five hundred hours of training and thousands of dollars in fees to obtain. She notes that many potential employees are no longer interested in working for her once they discover the onerous occupational licensing requirements.

State-level occupational licenses are a major barrier to minority entrepreneurship. These licenses prevent many minorities from starting their own businesses in fields across the economic spectrum.

The beauty industry is perhaps the most egregious example of a field whose occupational licensing requirements prevent minority entrepreneurship, but these licenses are also found in many other industries popular with minority entrepreneurs, including construction, childcare, and pest control.

Cosmetology licenses are often far more difficult to get than licenses for professions that deal with life and death. In Massachusetts, for instance, cosmetologists must complete one thousand hours of coursework and two years of apprenticeship before they are allowed to ply their trade in the beauty industry. Emergency medical technicians, by contrast, must only take 150 hours of courses to be allowed to work.