Are People Starting Businesses During the COVID-19 Pandemic?

By Thomas Price Thursday, November 19, 2020

2020 has been one of the worst years of sharp economic downturn in a long time. One of the major casualties of a poor economic year is always small businesses. This year has been no exception as many restaurants and retail shops have closed their doors for good. This is all exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, which, while also being the cause of the economic pullback, is also why many businesses cannot recover their losses as the year rolls on with foot traffic down for in-person shopping decreasing significantly. Considering all of these factors, are there new small businesses opening during 2020?

Small Business in 2020

The short answer to the question is no. In fact, small businesses buy and large, are closing permanently at an alarming rate. When the pandemic began causing major concerns across the nation, 140,104 businesses that had Yelp pages were temporarily shut down. While many have reopened as the United States slowly attempts to recover, many more have closed permanently. In fact, over those 140,000 businesses, a crushing 97,966 have gone completely out of business. The outlook for the rest of the year is not particularly optimistic either. The vice president of federal government relations for the National Federation of Independent Business recently made comments suggesting that one in five small businesses currently do not expect to make it to the end of the year unless the economic situation drastically improves. When zooming in on Denver, unless further federal aid is provided for small businesses, there are a projected 33,000 jobs that will be lost in Denver’s restaurant and retail industry alone. Beyond simply the small businesses that have closed, or expect to in the coming months, are the many that have taken on severe losses.

In a survey taken by LendingTree, an astounding 74% of small business owners have taken on debt in order to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. For those who were looking for help from the federal government, only 10% reported that the Paycheck Protection Program said it provided enough financial relief to cover all of the expenses and losses they had taken on. In fact, that is a lower percentage than the 28% of small business owners who reported relief at all. While all of this is rather dire, there are some silver linings looking toward the future.

Hopeful Future for Small Business

It is not hyperbole to state the tough situation small businesses are currently in; however, there are legitimate signs that it will not continue like this moving forward. For starters, many cities, states, and larger businesses are doing what they can to incentivize small business growth once again. In Ohio, Governor Dewine announced a brand new $125 million Small Business Relief Grant program that will provide $10,000 grants to individual businesses. The program will begin on November 2 of this year. On a larger scale, companies like Verizon and Facebook have been making gestures toward small business creation as well, with Verizon offering 5G plans to small businesses specifically for as little as $30 per line each month. Facebook took greater strides by expanding its upskilling program directed at Black and Latino business owners.

Beyond even these efforts is the optimism of small and medium business owners going into 2021. While 83% expect to perform better in 2021 than in 2020, the major highlight is that 93% plan to hire more workers in 2021. These numbers, along with support from governments and larger businesses, give hope for the next year.

Final Conclusions

Small business is not growing in 2020. In fact, it is dwindling under the tough economic circumstances. However, given the major support coming from local and state governments in place of the federal government, along with programs and deals from larger corporations, there is still good to look forward to. That optimism has reached a significant portion of small and medium business owners as well regarding 2021. Hopefully, the year is set to be the major economic recovery that the United States desperately needs.

About the Author


Headshot of Thomas Price

Tom Price is a writer focusing on Entertainment and Sports Features. He has a degree from NYU in English with a minor in Creative Writing. He has been previously published for Washington Square News, Dignitas, CBR, and Numbers on the Boards.

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