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Entrepreneurship Breaks Records in 2023. Is it Time to Scale Your Support Yet?

“Record-breaking” new business applications spur the need for more inclusive support.

In 2023, the United States witnessed a sustained surge in entrepreneurship, with a record-breaking 5.5 million new business applications filed, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. This remarkable increase underscores the sustained shift in the American economic landscape toward entrepreneurship across the nation. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce provides an insightful state-by-state view of this trend, featuring an interactive map that highlights the number of applications filed in each state, the state’s ranking of business applications per capita, and other key data points.

Source: U.S. Census

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce attributes the surge in new business applications to several factors, including the economic challenges and opportunities presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. Many Americans, facing job losses and shifts in consumer preferences, turned their ideas and hobbies into viable businesses, particularly in the retail trade and professional services industries. The U.S. Chamber’s report highlights how the pandemic's economic disruptions spurred a wave of creativity and innovation, leading to a boom in non-store retailers and professional services. This entrepreneurial response not only showcases the resilience and adaptability of the American people but also highlights the unique opportunities our governments and support organizations have to adapt to this surge and provide valuable, curated support to more people.

Source: U.S. Census

Despite these impressive gains, many entrepreneurs, especially in communities of color, still face an uphill battle when starting and growing their businesses. While the U.S. Chamber points out that “padded savings and more availability of credit card debt from the pandemic shutdown” likely helped entrepreneurs start their businesses, new evidence from the Survey of Consumer Finances from the Federal Reserve shows that the racial wealth gap has increased over the pandemic period. New evidence also demonstrates that communities of color still experience lower credit scores, limiting their access to financial services. 

The Chamber also suggests that “greater access to technology” has started to level the playing field between small and big businesses. These benefits, while important, have also not been felt equally within every community. The latest research on the digital divide shows that while tech adoption is strong, lower-income folks rely most heavily on smartphones for accessing digital tools. Additionally, nearly 60% of Black or Latino folks report not having access to a home computer, a big gap from White or non-Latino folks.

We must all continue to work hard to make entrepreneurship accessible to everyone in our communities. At Qwally, we track the challenges entrepreneurs face when navigating bureaucracy, meeting regulatory requirements, accessing capital, and connecting with support through trusted networks. Our mobile-first, inclusive platform helps governments and support organizations track progress alongside businesses of all shapes and sizes, no matter their starting point.  

As we continue to see record-breaking new business applications and their potential to transform local communities, Qwally is here to help scale your business support. Reach out to learn more. 

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Brandon Gumm

Brandon leads sales, marketing, and customer success at Qwally, an industry-leading developer of business engagement software for local governments and support organizations. If you are a local government or support organization working with entrepreneurs and small businesses, please reach out!

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