It is not uncommon for entrepreneurship to increase during lean economic times. Some of the big-time technology companies of today, such as Uber and Airbnb, were born out of the last economic crisis in 2008, noted Bruce Bachenheimer, a professor at Pace University and executive director of the school's Entrepreneurship Lab.
Both Bachenheimer and Bowles described the rise in new businesses as an overall positive, even if driven by negative circumstances. New, small businesses can help job growth as they expand. That's despite the oft-cited statistic, from the U.S. Small Business Administration, that about half of all new businesses close within five years.
"You may have a million startups because of the pandemic and 50% close once things pass—they go back to their regular job and don't owe a penny to anyone," Bachenheimer said. "It is a good sign overall that you have 50% of people still pursuing their new business."
Both the city and the state governments could speed the region's recovery through entrepreneurship, Bowles said, by making it easier to apply for a business license and offering grants or tax incentives, especially to first-time entrepreneurs from low-income communities.