Last week, Ben Casselman of the New York Times reported on the pandemic “start-up boom,” writing “the coronavirus pandemic appears to have unleashed a tidal wave of entrepreneurial activity, breaking the United States — at least temporarily — out of a decades-long start-up slump.” He points to the 24% increase in new business applications in 2020, the highest volume on record since the government began tracking. 2021 is anticipated to be even higher.
John Lettieri, president and CEO of coalition member Economic Innovation Group, is quoted acknowledging that “the pandemic forced a big realignment that we never would have seen otherwise.”
But COVID-19 brought a host of new challenges, including a rapidly declining “opportunity share of entrepreneurs,” or the percent of entrepreneurs starting new businesses by choice, rather than necessity. Casselman cites research from the Kauffman Foundation in his article, showing “that about 30 percent of new entrepreneurs last year were unemployed when they started their businesses, roughly double the prepandemic rate.”
Meanwhile, amid an economic crisis, new businesses need more support than ever to thrive. Policymakers must ensure the surge in entrepreneurship interest translates to successful business growth. In recent days, members of the Start Us Up coalition have shared resources to help bring focus to the needs of entrepreneurs.
Small Businesses Share Views on Proposed Tax Reforms, Workforce Shortages
As federal policymakers work toward a budget reconciliation package, Small Business Majority released a report detailing how small business owners view the tax system, and their opinions on proposed reforms. Among the findings: 69 percent believe in a 15% minimum tax on profits that large corporations report to investors, while 66% support setting a minimum tax rate of 21% on corporate offshore profits. 76% believe that government should provide more tax incentives for small businesses.
Linking and Leveraging Assets in Entrepreneurial Ecosystems to Address Challenges and Crises
The Kauffman Foundation released a brief for practitioners detailing how ecosystem builders can leverage existing assets and resources to overcome pandemic challenges. The brief details the experience of coalition member CO+HOOTS, who sought new ways of supporting local entrepreneurs when their physical coworking space closed amid COVID-19 shutdowns. In shifting their focus to strengthening a resource and information hub, CO+HOOTS was able to engage government leaders and work collaboratively with policymakers to streamline efforts and connect entrepreneurs with the resources they need.
Crowdfunding in Oregon 2021
Oregon RAIN received a grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration to build a fundraising platform that efficiently connects entrepreneurs to local capital sources. Launching this fall, the platform “will lower the investment barrier for small, first-time investors and lower the barrier to capital access for sustainable-growth and high-growth businesses.” To support the launch, Oregon RAIN is hosting a webinar on crowdfunding, inviting entrepreneurs and supporters to learn about raising capital through peer-to-peer lending.