Last night, I watched the HBO documentary, Hard Times: Lost on Long Island, which follows several Long Island, NY, families affected by unemployment and the recession.
The program exposed the emotional realities of how long-term unemployment has hit hard on Long Island, where countless residents have lost their jobs in the Great Recession.
It was depressing to watch how these suburban, middle-class families struggled to survive after losing their jobs, and ultimately their homes to foreclosure.
But if there was one positive reality that came from watching the program, it was this silver lining: The recession is spurring more business startups as many unemployed turn to entrepreneurship for survival.
During periods of slow economic growth and high unemployment, the number of new business startups tends to increase as more people seek self-employment.
The current economic downturn is no exception: Entrepreneurial activity and new business creation in the United States are at their highest points in 15 years.
Not only do startups bring a wealth of transformative innovations to market, they also play a critical role in job creation across the United States.
“In America, small business has always been The Answer,” writes Steve Strauss of USA Today in his article, Why Only Small Business Can Save America.
The senior small business columnist goes on to say, “More than 99% of businesses with payrolls in this country are small businesses, according to the Small Business Administration, and those small businesses historically employ more than half of all workers and create 80 percent of new jobs.”
Despite a stagnant U.S. economy, the rise in startups will prove that small business is, and always has been, the engine that moves the country forward.