Small Business

Unemployment Leads To Entrepreneurship, According To New Study


A lousy economy apparently has one upside: It inspires entrepreneurs, says a new report.

Fifteen percent of entrepreneurs launched their own ventures after losing their job, according to a new poll of nearly 1,400 small-business owners conducted by accounting software firm WaveAccounting.

For people who started businesses before the recession, or more than six years ago, only 9 percent pointed to unemployment as a factor. For businesses started in the last 12 months, that number jumps to 18 percent.

Perhaps these new business owners found inspiration in Steve Jobs, who started Apple out of his garage in 1976 as the U.S. climbed out of a recession, and later rejuvenated the firm in the midst of the dot-com bust.

But before you go looking to launch the next iPad, beware: While a turbulent economy inspires entrepreneurs, it also makes it hard for them to succeed.

Anne-Laure Vibert, a marketing professional profiled in The New York Times, gave up her job at a luxury brand to become a chocolatier, only to call it quits four months later. Sweeping floors, wrapping gifts and shipping orders became too much of a headache, said Vibert, who eventually returned to working for her former boss.

Like Vibert, some of the business owners surveyed by WaveAccounting may be on their way back to life as an employee. Nearly half of those surveyed reported not earning enough for their families’ needs.

Economists have debated whether or not the most recent economic downturn triggered more entrepreneurship. While new firm creation in the U.S. hit a 14-year high during the Great Recession, at the same time, more businesses closed shop. Separate research revealed that the amount of people who started new firms was dwarfed by the pool of people whose businesses shuttered as the economy worsened.

“If you have more people giving up than going in, I can’t see how entrepreneurship went up,” Scott Shane, a professor at Case Western University, told The Huffington Post last year.

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