While the economic effects of coronavirus have led to business closures, job losses, and a drop in GDP, some are taking this as an opportunity to pursue passions and take risks. That’s right, entrepreneurship is on the rise. Americans are starting businesses at the fastest rate in more than a decade. As of September 2020, applications for EIN numbers had surpassed 3.2 million for the year1, with over 500,000 of said applications occurring from mid-Mach to the end of May alone2. This number is, unironically, up 500,000 compared to the year prior1.
Journeying into entrepreneurship amidst a pandemic may seem absurd, but tragedy has long been a breeding ground for innovation. Entrepreneurs are already natural risk-takers to some degree, and with so many people facing tons of uncertainty in their situations, it can seem like starting a new business isn’t quite as big of a risk right now.
Between layoffs, pay cuts, and the looming uncertainty that you might be next, many people decided it’s an opportune time to take control of their income and try their hand at something they’re passionate about. Let’s not forget about the successful startups that originated as a result of the 2008 financial crisis that have become integral tools and services in our lives — CreditKarma, Venmo, Slack, Uber, Instagram, Square3 (and Teslar Software 😉) and tons more.
The pandemic and aftermath thereof will undoubtedly cause some businesses to plummet and others to create the next wave of entrepreneurship. Online shopping, food delivery, and video conferencing industries are currently booming, but hotel, restaurant, retail, entertainment, and sports industries cannot say the same. Some experts predict there will be room for opportunity when it comes to the supply chain of goods and services seeing as shortages of supplies shocked the economy this year. Who knows what life-changing businesses and organizations will come out of this pandemic—we can’t wait to find out!
During this past year, American culture and lifestyles have been turned upside down. The way we work, socialize, shop, receive healthcare, and so many other basic daily events were deemed unsafe practically overnight. Even when coronavirus is no longer considered a pandemic, not everything will revert to the way it previously was. Quarantining and social distancing have created an entirely new market.
When we reflect on the early weeks and months of the pandemic, there are already so many instances of innovation and partnership among businesses and communities (and banks, too. We’ll never stop bragging about how community banks shined during PPP). When stores couldn’t keep hand sanitizer and other sanitizing cleaners on the shelves, distilleries began manufacturing sanitizers. Fashion designers created PPE for healthcare workers. And entrepreneurs have found solutions to the roadblocks caused by the pandemic— social connectedness while social distancing or sheltering in place, safe and healthy ways to obtain goods and services.
At the end of the day, those businesses and entrepreneurs who recognize and act upon chances to promote positive change and capitalize on shifting circumstances will be the ones who foster the new generation of entrepreneurs and startups, while those who cannot or will not adapt will struggle to keep up. Perhaps the most vital role that entrepreneurs take during this, or any, economic crisis is that they indicate recovery and continuity for our communities and economy.