Columbia Star

1963        Celebrating 60 Years      2023

Columbia had the 11th most new businesses in the U.S. per capita

Entrepreneurship is one of the most powerful forces in the U.S. economy. The Small Business Administration classifies 13 percent of all establishments as startups and estimates there are a total of 31.7 million small businesses in the U.S. Economic experts, policymakers, and business leaders all tout these new and developing enterprises as essential for job creation and innovation. Even major companies publicly mythologize their humble origins, from tech companies founded in garages to mom-and-pop shops or restaurants grown into nationwide chains.

However, startup businesses and their role in the economy have changed over time. As larger companies increasingly concentrate their strength in the market, startups are representing a declining share of total employment in the U.S. Simultaneously, microbusinesses in fields like online retail have become an increasingly large portion of new businesses. These enterprises are easier to start, which has helped diversify the ranks of business founders, but they may not grow to a large scale or add many employees—or any at all.

Despite fears of a downturn, one reason for continued economic optimism is an elevated level of new business creation since the start of COVID-19. The U.S. has averaged more than 400,000 monthly applications for new businesses since the pandemic began. In comparison, the highest single month for new business applications from 2004 until the start of the pandemic saw around 309,000 applications.

The analysis found the Columbia metro area saw 18,824 new business applications in 2021— 22.69 applications per 1,000 residents, compared to 16.18 nationally. Out of all midsize metros, the Columbia metro had the 11th most new businesses per capita.

Here is a summary of the data for the Columbia metro area:

•New business applications per 1k residents:
•Total new business
applications (2021):
•1-year change in new
business applications:
+38.4 percent
•2-year change in new
business applications:
+97.3 percent

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