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Accidental Entrepreneurs Spring from Recession

August 5, 2010

If there’s good news from the recession, leaving record numbers of workers unemployed, it’s that 2009 also marked the year of business startups. However, many of these new businesses have emerged from necessity. Perhaps you are one of the new “accidental entrepreneurs” who have sprung up from the recent economic doldrums.

Here are the facts: In 2009, business startups reached their highest level in 14 years, even exceeding the boom of 1999 and 2000, according to the Kauffman Index of Entrepreneurial Activity. The 340 out of 100,000 adults who started businesses each month in 2009 represented a 4 percent increase over 2008, or 27,000 more starts per month than in 2008 and 60,000 more starts per month than in 2007.

Rise of the Accidental Entrepreneur

“Challenging times can serve as a motivational boost to individuals who have been laid off to become their own employers and future job creators,” says Carl Schramm, president of the Kauffman Foundation, in a press release.

Entrepreneurship growth was highest among those ages 35-44, according to the report. The oldest age group, 55-64, also experienced a large increase in business creation rates. Entrepreneurial activity increased for both women and men.

“With unemployment hovering at 10 percent and the economy still shedding jobs, many would-be employees have concluded that the best way forward is to go into business for themselves, whether they want to or not,” writes Allison Linn for (Accidental Entrepreneurs on the Rise).

Many of these workers call themselves “accidental entrepreneurs.”

Business Owners Hopefully Cautious

The majority of members of the National Association of Business Owners (NAWBO) feel the U.S. economy is improving, and will be better at the end of 2010 than it is today, according to a NAWBO survey.

Still, there are some lingering doubts.

“The performance of the economy is mediocre at best,” said William C. Dunkelberg, chief economist for the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), in a press release. “Given the extent of the decline over the past two years, pent up demand should be immense, but it is not triggering a rapid pickup in economic activity.”

NFIB’s Index of Small Business Optimism gained 1.6 points in May with a reading of 92.2, the most positive reading since September 2008’s 92.9 index. However, while seven of the 10 index components rose, job creation and capital expenditure plans remained at recession levels.

A Citibank small business survey found similar results: 77 percent of business owners surveyed rate current business conditions as either fair or poor, as reported by And 43 percent said their own business is worse off today than it was a year ago.

In Your Shoes is created by Johnston & Murphy, offering quality shoes and outerwear for women and men. We welcome your comments and contributions.


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