Recessions, Startups and the Fortune 500

Great new paper out from my Kauffman Foundation colleague Dane Stangler looking at the relationship between economic cycles, startups and Fortune 500 company founding. It is highly worth reading. Here is the release:

The study, "The Economic Future Just Happened," found that more than half of the companies on the 2009 Fortune 500 list were launched during a recession or bear market, along with nearly half of the firms on the 2008 Inc. list of America’s fastest-growing companies. The report also suggests a broader economic trend, with job creation from startup companies proving to be less volatile and sensitive to downturns when compared to the overall economy.

"You can see the story of the American economy in these numbers," said Carl Schramm, president and CEO of the Kauffman Foundation. "History has demonstrated this time and again: new firms create new jobs and fuel our economy. Policies that support entrepreneurship support recovery."

The study points out that while recessions often create widespread economic grief, they also can encourage potential entrepreneurs, acting "as an extra spur to founding a new company, if the founders perceive their prospective competition might be weakened." Rising unemployment can benefit new enterprises: entrepreneurs may view unemployment as an opportunity to start a company, and seize the advantage provided by the ability to tap into a larger pool of potential employees.

"While startups may not begin with the intention of reaching the Fortune 500 list, they’re hard at work under the radar," said Dane Stangler, senior analyst at the Kauffman Foundation and author of the study. "These companies may remain invisible to most of us, or they may one day grow into household names. Either way, they’re steadily recreating our economy—generating jobs and innovations."

You can find the full study here.

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