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Launch time: People have been starting businesses now. Why?

By ANNEMARIE SCHUETZ
Posted 9/22/21

REGION — When people are dying, the world is in upheaval and nothing is the same, that’s probably not the time to start a business, right?

Wrong. At least that’s how a …

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Launch time: People have been starting businesses now. Why?

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REGION — When people are dying, the world is in upheaval and nothing is the same, that’s probably not the time to start a business, right?

Wrong. At least that’s how a significant number of entrepreneurs feel.

In a recent survey, the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) found that 22 percent of U.S. adults knew someone who had started a business in the pandemic.

Everyone can name businesses that failed or are struggling, and that’s a problem. “Falls in the rate of established business ownership are worrying, and indicate a downward shift in employment opportunities,” said Stephen Hill, lead author of the Global Report. “Established businesses provide stable long-term jobs.”

But, he added, “New businesses are essential, since they will create sustainable jobs.”

People have figured that out.

“Entrepreneurs are by nature good at spotting opportunities, and in turn, resilient in riding out bad times. Of the 43 economies studied,” according to a GEM press release, “there are nine where more than half of those starting or running a new business agree that the pandemic led to new opportunities they could pursue.”

In the U.S., a report from the online lending marketplace LendingTree found that “the number of business owners applying for employer identification numbers in 2020 surpassed the previous year’s total by mid-October.”

Some, maybe many, were responding to the funds available from PPP loans.

What was popular? E-commerce businesses, the company found, grew by four times.

“Between the week of Dec. 29, 2019, and the week of March 15, 2020—the last prior to the CARES Act being passed—there were an average of about 6,600 applications for non-store retail businesses,” Derek Miller, a senior research analyst for LendingTree, wrote. “After that, from March 22, 2020, to Oct. 3, 2020—the latest available data by industry type—there was an average of nearly 13,200 non-store retail business applications per week.”

Non-store retail, i.e. e-shopping, direct sales and mail order, “is the type of business you might open up to take advantage of a side hustle,” Miller wrote, “so it makes sense that as the COVID-19 crisis ripped through the country, more people were spending time thinking of ways to make some money.”

“Due to COVID-19, both the markets and the rules of the game have changed, and entrepreneurs will increasingly come up with new solutions for the challenges the world faces,” said Niels Bosma, chair of the GEM board. “These findings underscore why it is crucial for governments to not just focus on keeping existing businesses alive, but also nurture a fertile ground for new entrepreneurship that can safeguard the jobs of the future.”

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