The Rise of Risky Business: Americans Start Businesses Despite Economic Woes


Entrepreneurship Thrives Amid Economic Turmoil: A Journey of Resilience and Innovation

In the face of economic uncertainty, a wave of entrepreneurship is sweeping across the United States. A record number of Americans are taking risks and starting their own businesses, with Black women leading the charge as a rapidly growing force in the business landscape.

The Rise of Home-Grown Businesses

Melanie Lewis, a former Minneapolis pastry chef, turned her passion into a successful venture. Utilizing Minnesota’s Cottage Food Law, she launched Perfect Piece Sweets Co., bringing mouthwatering custom cakes and treats to weddings and other events.

Driven by determination and a desire for financial independence, Lewis took her business to the next level in 2023, obtaining her wholesaler license to expand her reach into retail stores. Today, her delectable artisan chocolate truffle assortment boxes grace the shelves of local restaurants throughout Minneapolis.

Black Entrepreneurship: A Driving Force

Not surprisingly, Melanie Lewis is not alone in her entrepreneurial journey. Black women represent the fastest growing group of entrepreneurs in the US, with a 70% increase in the number of Black women-owned businesses since the pandemic’s onset.

However, Black entrepreneurs often face unique challenges. Research shows that they are twice as likely to be denied loans compared to white business owners.

Overcoming Barriers with Support

Organizations like the Metropolitan Economic Development Association (MEDA) play a crucial role in supporting minority-owned businesses. MEDA provides grants, loans, and guidance to help these businesses thrive.

Tomme Beevas, owner of Pimento Jamaican Kitchen, credits MEDA with helping his restaurant expand from its Food Network reality show origins to multiple locations around the Twin Cities.

Technology as an Equalizer

The US Chamber of Commerce highlights the role of technology in lowering the barriers to entry for small businesses. With current advancements, one individual can effortlessly compete against global corporations.

Thomas Sullivan, vice president of small business policy, notes that 80% of America’s small businesses have no employees, opening new opportunities for self-employment and flexibility.

Embracing New Industries

Innovation is also fueling the growth of entrepreneurship. Artificial intelligence and sustainability businesses are attracting the attention of investors and aspiring business owners alike.

John Stavig, program director for the University of Minnesota’s Gary S. Holmes Center for Entrepreneurship, sees resilience and flexibility as key drivers of the economic growth. Despite the potential for a recession, the surge in new businesses indicates a positive outlook.

A Path to Economic Freedom

The rise of entrepreneurship signifies a fundamental shift in the way Americans are approaching work and financial security. With courage and ambition, individuals are creating their own opportunities, fostering a brighter economic future for themselves and their communities.

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