The Great Resignation not only has liberated workers from their employers but it has led to a boom in small businesses across the nation, especially in the Southeast.
Those are among the conclusions of a survey by software-as-a-service platform Zapier. New business creation is more than 50% higher than it was pre-pandemic, it found, as U.S. entrepreneurs look to take advantage of a time when it is less costly to start a small business and many employees eschew a return to large offices.
The startup boom has also been hastened by the ongoing pandemic that has forced layoffs, furloughs and business closures, according to Zapier.
Of the 2,000 new entrepreneurs surveyed, 77% said newfound free time because of the pandemic was key to starting their new business, and 57% said they did it to make more money. A little over half (52%) had either no prior business experience or had freelanced before.
New e-commerce businesses led the way (37%), followed by in-person services (25%), professional service consulting (22%) and retail with a physical location (16%).
The startup mindset was most pronounced in the Southeast — the percentage increases in new business creation between 2019 and 2021 were topped by Mississippi (up 124%), Georgia (up 101%), South Carolina (up 93%), Louisiana (up 91%) and Alabama (up 87%). The dramatic increases were fueled, in part, by less overall disruption of businesses due to a more laissez-faire approach to pandemic-related government regulations, as well as a greater need in the region for alternative sources of income, according to Zapier Chief Executive Wade Foster.
Creating a web site (80%) and selling through social media (75%) were considered easier than three years ago, according to Zapier.
The wave of startups reflects serious self-assessment by employees who not only yearn for change, but want to protect themselves from the coronavirus and its unspooling line of variants, Foster said.