Poll on McCombs TODAY: Good Time for Entrepreneurship?

“Oddly enough, the recession seems to be adding momentum.”

Tracy Mueller at McCombs TODAY has posted an online poll asking “Given the current economic conditions, is now a good time to start a business?” Go here to participate.

The question is sparked by the current issue of Entrepreneur magazine featuring an article by Jason Daley about the Entrepreneur Economy, focusing on business owners who started new ventures despite a down economy.

From the article:

When the economic sky fell last year and CEOs and workers alike were stuffing cash under their mattresses, it didn’t seem like the right moment for big plans, much less a wholesale reshaping of the way entire industries operate. But during the last year, as the shock has subsided, Americans looking at the collapse of corporate culture and finance, the loss of job security, and inscrutable government solutions are coming to the same conclusion as Fisker: We don’t have to do things the same way. We can take the economy in hand and drive our own destinies. And a movement that has been slowly building in the business world is finally taking hold: We’re seeing the beginnings of the entrepreneurial economy, a system built on nimble, low-overhead, oftentimes small companies with fluid workforces, rather than the massive conglomerates that have upheld the economy for decades.

Oddly enough, the recession seems to be adding momentum: By choice or necessity, more people are pursuing self-employment as an alternative to an iffy corporate existence. The number of small businesses created in 2008 was still at pre-recession levels, according to the latest data from the Small Business Administration, contrary to most economic indicators. The Kauffman Index of Entrepreneurial Activity, which measures new startups, shows a slight uptick during the same time period, and that is expected to continue through 2009. Self-employment rates have been growing at an average of 4.5 percent annually most of this decade, adding roughly 1 million people per year, and they are expected to keep pace or spike when the 2008 and 2009 numbers are released. Across the country, enrollment in entrepreneurship programs at universities is booming.

Attesting to the reality of that last statement, interest in entrepreneurship at the McCombs School has risen both with undergraduate and graduate students. This week’s official launch of FocalPop is a convenient and timely example of the outcome of that rising sense of self-determination. “I’ll start my own business!”

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