Entrepreneurism and the Recession

This is an article that I’ve submitted for publication in Tu Decides Newspaper (www.tudecidesmedia.com).  It will be published on June 26, 2009.

In previous articles I discussed how the souring economy is a ripe time to pursue graduate management education or volunteer opportunities on a nonprofit board.  This month I submit yet another potential opportunity in our current recession; entrepreneurial ventures.

This might sound counterintuitive on a number of levels.  Currently, consumers and businesses have a reduced capacity to spend, most financial institutions have much higher lending restrictions despite the government’s reprieve, and perhaps, you have heard the many stories of small business owners giving up their businesses to seek the stability that often comes with joining larger organizations. 

This one hits close to home.  My younger brother, a very talented artist and creative director who started a video game development company less than two years ago, recently informed me that he’s going to throw in the towel and seek a “real” job.

It is not all doom and gloom though.  For entrepreneurs with a compelling product or service offering, the current recession does provide some significant opportunities.  With the current high unemployment rate, you can hire more highly skilled workers for a lower wage than in a booming economy.  You will have a much stronger position to negotiate concessions from potential suppliers or for office space.  Additionally, the 2009 Recovery Act signed into law by President Obama on February 17, 2009, provides a significant amount of funding to the Small Business Administration for spurring the growth of small businesses through new lending and relief on existing loans.  Other resources in Washington State include the Business Assistance Program from the University of Washington’s Business and Economic Development Center (BEDC).  This program provides business consulting services from a team of business students, alumni, and professional mentors to entrepreneurs and nonprofit organizations.

Finally, the economy will not be depressed for much longer.  According to data from the National Bureau of Economic Research, since the end of the Great Depression in 1933, the U.S. has gone through a dozen recessions (not including the current one).  None of these has lasted more than 18 months.  Even the Great Depression lasted less than four years.  If history is consistent with our future, the current recession, which officially started in December 2007, is due for a rebound soon.  The small businesses that either launches during – and/or survives – this difficult period will be poised to take advantage of the pending recovery.

Whether you’ve already decided on a new business venture or it is something that you are pondering, the organization that I lead, National Society of Hispanic MBAs (NSHMBA) Seattle Chapter is hosting an Entrepreneurship Panel on Wednesday, June 24 at the Westin Bellevue.  Several entrepreneurs who saw an opportunity to start or grow a business during this economy share their experiences, including Christine Chen from Chen Communications, Marcelo Garces from Luxtom Homes, and Angel Cruzado from Guys and Girls Next Door.  We welcome guests to come to explore this topic in further detail.  For more details, please visit http://seattle.nshmba.org.

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