A Silver Lining From the Pandemic: A Surge in Start-ups

October 4, 2023
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The COVID-19 pandemic left a lasting impact on the U.S. economy, disrupting supply chains, causing inflation, and leading to widespread unemployment. However, amidst the chaos, there emerged a silver lining – a surge in entrepreneurial activity that may signal a new era of economic dynamism.

In this blog post, we will explore the research conducted by economists at the University of Maryland and the Federal Reserve, shedding light on the rise of new businesses during and after the pandemic. We will also discuss the factors that contributed to this phenomenon and how it has shaped the business landscape in America.

The Rise of New Ventures

Contrary to the declining trend of start-up activity over the past few decades, the pandemic seems to have broken this pattern. The study by John Haltiwanger of the University of Maryland and Ryan Decker of the Fed reveals early indications of a revival in business dynamism. The surge in entrepreneurial activity can be attributed to the unique circumstances brought about by the pandemic, which allowed entrepreneurs to seize sudden business opportunities rapidly. Additionally, the immense influx of pandemic assistance from the federal government provided aspiring business owners with the capital necessary to kickstart their ventures and hire employees.

A Shift in the Business Landscape

For years, start-up activity has been declining, giving way to the dominance of a few large corporations in various industries. However, the pandemic has acted as a catalyst for change, with entrepreneurs now bridging the gap and carving out their own niches. The study highlights a sustained increase in new business activity and job creation, with notable shifts in the geographic distribution of these ventures. As more Americans work from home, start-up activity has moved away from traditional downtown areas towards suburban neighborhoods, reflecting the changing dynamics of the workforce.

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The Role of Stimulus Measures

The economic stimulus injected into the economy by the government played a crucial role in fostering entrepreneurship during and after the pandemic. Monthly applications for new businesses that can generate employment have increased by 30% compared to pre-pandemic levels. These numbers spiked following the initial wave of government stimulus and continued to rise during subsequent stimulus disbursements. Moreover, the research suggests that the presence of a larger number of start-ups in the market may have contributed to the perceived labor shortage experienced by existing businesses in recent years, as they find themselves competing for workers with these new ventures.

The Biden Administration’s Impact

While the study does not directly address the effect of President Biden’s policies, the White House acknowledges their support for an entrepreneurial surge. The $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan championed by the Biden administration provided financial aid to individuals, businesses, and state and local governments. This supportive backdrop undoubtedly encouraged entrepreneurship, particularly among small and minority-owned businesses. It is important to recognize that the research shows progress and job gains during the president’s tenure.


The unexpected rise of entrepreneurship during and after the COVID-19 pandemic has brought hope for a vibrant economic future in America. As businesses adapt to the new normal, opportunities are presenting themselves, and individuals are capitalizing on them to create innovative solutions.

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