Everyone Wants to Be an Entrepreneur


Applications for new businesses rose 20 percent last year, after languishing for a decade. Many newly minted founders attribute it to the pandemic.

Angela Muhwezi-Hall had a startup idea long before the pandemic—it just never seemed like the right time. She had a steady job at a university, a 401(k), and the ability to take paid time off. Then came March 2020. As the university shut down and Muhwezi-Hall retreated to work from home, she started to think about making the leap.

What she wanted to build was a job platform for service workers. While the idea was old, the timing was suddenly perfect: Millions of service workers had just been laid off and were looking for new jobs. She recruited her sister, Deborah Gladney, to help build a prototype. By August, the sisters had quit their full-time jobs to work on the startup, QuickHire.

Muhwezi-Hall and Gladney are part of a rising tide of first-time entrepreneurs. In 2021, more than 5.4 million applications for new businesses were filed, according to the US Census Bureau. That’s 23 percent more than in 2020, and about twice as many as a decade ago. The sudden burst of startup activity reverses a decade-long slump, and it has created the biggest entrepreneurship boom in half a century.

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