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Study: 43% of Americans want to start a business in 2022 — What about Grand Forks?

In the Grand Forks region, those numbers are felt by the SCORE Grand Forks chapter, a nonprofit made up of volunteers with past experience owning and operating businesses who help new or aspiring entrepreneurs plan and open their new businesses. Co-Chair Curt Sandberg said the organization sees cottage industry businesses, but there’s much more than just those sprouting up in the Grand Forks region.

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Grand Forks SCORE's Chapter Co-Chair, Curt Sandberg. (submitted photo)
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GRAND FORKS — A recent Digital.com survey reports 43% of Americans plan to start a business in 2022, and the Grand Forks region is no exception.

According to the survey, one-third of them would be first-time business owners. Those wanting to start a business in 2022 after leaving their jobs come mostly from the health care, construction, education and finance industries. Those in the health care and social assistance industry account for 8% of hopeful future entrepreneurs.

So, are there more business owners now than before the COVID-19 pandemic began? According to the U.S. Census Bureau data, in 2020 there was a 24% increase in paperwork filed to start businesses from 2019. Paperwork was filed to start more than 4.3 million businesses in 2020 — the highest number of overall applications since 2004, which was the first year those numbers were tracked.

An NBC.com article claims part of the reason entrepreneurship has thrived during the pandemic is due to government support programs, which were not around during other times of economic turmoil, such as The Great Recession of 2007 to 2009.

In the Grand Forks region, those numbers are felt by the SCORE Grand Forks chapter, a nonprofit made up of volunteers with past experience owning and operating businesses who help new or aspiring entrepreneurs plan and open their new businesses. Co-chair Curt Sandberg said the organization sees cottage industry businesses, but there’s much more than just those sprouting up in the Grand Forks region.

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“I'd hate to say there's a ‘most’ (of any industry), but there's certainly a wide spread,” Sandberg said. “You can go from food-type industries, whether that's brick and mortar to a food truck, to daycare, childcare, a wide variety of phone services, your automobile-related industries, farm-related industries, or something in the (agriculture) field.”

Many of the entrepreneurs come by way of Etsy and other online marketplaces allowing people to make goods in their own homes and sell them on the internet. Sandberg thinks part of the uptick in new businesses since the pandemic began can also be attributed to an ever-changing idea of what a business should physically look like.

“It's my idea, or thought, that some of this is caused by the fact that people now have realized that a physical location and/or brick and mortar business is not paramount to an opportunity that they’ve been thinking about for years and maybe were never willing to explore,” Sandberg said. “Maybe now that that opinion has changed, or their outlook on that has changed. And maybe (they are) more inclined to pursue the idea and at least researchers little bit more to see if there's a possibility there.”

Since October 2021, SCORE Grand Forks has received 39 requests for mentoring. In the same four-month time period from October 2020 to February 2021, it received 33. SCORE’s fiscal year begins each October, and from October 2020 through September 2021, it had what Sandberg called “a phenomenal increase in the number of new clients.”

“The data would indicate that, even here locally, there has been an increase… But not to the extent that you're seeing in the national report,” Sandberg said.

So, why hasn’t the pandemic slowed down entrepreneurship? Besides the wider availability of online stores and the availability of advanced internet capabilities, the COVID-19 pandemic presented many American workers with the unique opportunity to work from home, either in a hybrid capacity or without visiting their offices altogether.

“I think there's a number of people that their work has changed dramatically, and because of the of the pandemic they've worked more remotely,” Sandberg said. “And they maybe had thought, prior to that, that they were married to their routine, if I can use that term, and their routine changed, and now they thought, ‘Maybe this is an opportunity for me to pursue a dream that I've had in the back of my mind before,’ and now it's maybe time to have time (for it).”

Related Topics: SMALL BUSINESS
Jacob Holley joined the Grand Forks Herald as its business reporter in June 2021.

Holley's beat at the Grand Forks Herald is broad and includes a variety of topics, including small business, national trends and more.

Readers can reach Holley at jholley@gfherald.com.Follow him on Twitter @JakeHolleyMedia.
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