By Aaron London The News-Journal, Daytona Beach, Fla.
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) While entrepreneurial activity spiked in the wake of the Great Recession as people lost jobs due to downsizing and workforce reductions, the pace of start-up activity has not slowed as more would-be entrepreneurs are taking the plunge to start a new business.
The News-Journal, Daytona Beach, Fla.
According to a report on entrepreneurship activity by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, Florida ranks third out of the 25 largest states for start-up activity.
In addition to ranking high on the list of entrepreneurial states, the survival rate for businesses is also rising in the Sunshine State.
While entrepreneurial activity spiked in the wake of the Great Recession as people lost jobs due to downsizing and workforce reductions, the pace of start-up activity has not slowed as more would-be entrepreneurs are taking the plunge to start a new business.
For a look at the entrepreneurial landscape in Flagler County, Ky Ekinic, co-founder of Office Divvy in Palm Coast and organizer of Entrepreneur Night, offers the local spin.
Question: Florida is ranked No. 3 of the 25 largest states for start-up activity. Are you surprised at that ranking?
Answer: I am not surprised because of Florida's population advantage. Florida, I believe, is No. 3 in terms of its population, so I am not surprised with that factor.
In terms of culture, it could be surprising. By that I refer to entrepreneurialism and start-up culture. But that is improving. Even though the entrepreneurial ecosystem has been improving statewide, it is still lacking in comparison to a New York or parts of Austin, Texas or California or the "Silicon Prairie" in Kansas and Texas.
Question: What is your sense of start-up activity in Flagler County?
Answer: It's hard to say. I wish we as a community tracked that a little better. We have the ways to do it through perhaps communications and collaboration with the county and cities of Palm Coast and Flagler Beach when people register a new company. My feeling is anecdotal, with interactions at Entrepreneur Night and at Office Divvy. Using that criteria, I see a healthy amount of people who are starting a business or restarting a business. I also see a great portion of people that are new to the area.
Question: Has the motivation for entrepreneurship changed from the height of the Great Recession?
Answer: The business landscape is changing so much. The bust environment forced people to become freelancers or true business owners. The factor of necessity based on unemployment I no longer see as a factor. I do believe there is a third factor now, which goes back to the business landscape changing so fast.
It is a combination of cultural shifts in how entrepreneurs are celebrated and how some significant entrepreneurs , like Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg, have become household names and have achieved celebrity status. The second part is the type of businesses that one can start without a major capital investment has grown, and the types of businesses one can really scale have increased.
Question: What is your outlook for entrepreneurship in the region?
Answer: The pace is healthy and the changes in the ecosystem are healthy. I am coming across people who are starting something up and staying with it and seeking other local resources to help them scale and grow. There is a good ratio of that. So the overall outlook, I would say a B-plus right now. In 2007, 2008 it was a C-minus, so it is a big improvement.