A few good things come in recessionary packages
Besides their massive size, what do General Motors, IBM, and Microsoft all have in common? They are among the many companies that were launched in an economic downturn — the recessions of 1908, 1911, and 1975, to be precise.
Contrary to popular opinion, yours truly was only alive during that last one, but I recall what a difficult time it was as my parents and my friends’ parents struggled to make ends meet due to high unemployment, out-of-control inflation, and the general black-and-blue condition Uncle Sam found himself in post-Vietnam and Watergate.
So, as the Federal Reserve does its best to induce a recession to fight inflation — there is a Nobel Prize in economics for someone who can find a better way to bring down rising prices — and recent bank failures add to our anxiety, it might be worthwhile to think about what can emerge from an economic rough patch.
In a new study, the people at Lendio, an online loan marketplace for small business owners, recently noted that despite the rocky start the 2020s are off to, a record 10 million small businesses were launched in 2021 and 2022. While that record pace is likely to slow down when the economy loses traction, maybe the survivors of the forthcoming recession will include another Hewlett Packard (1939), FedEx (1971), or Electronic Arts (1982), three more stalwarts that were launched when business conditions weren’t exactly ideal.
Lendio also ranked Wisconsin as the No. 23 best state to start a small business, using factors such as tax rates, startup survival rates, cost of living, educated worker migration, loans and other funding, consumer spending, and incentive programs. Texas, Florida, and Ohio were the top three business-creating states cited by Lendio, whose findings are based on recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Census Bureau, and the Small Business Administration from 2016–2023. Hawaii, Maine, and New Hampshire brought up the rear.