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Small Business Boom In Maryland

[ 0 ] Mar. 5, 2012 | SBO Editor

More than 25% of Marylanders Have Started a Business

Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development (DBED), in partnership with the Greater Baltimore Technology Council (GBTC),  released results of a statewide survey that shows more than one quarter of all Marylanders – 28 percent – have owned or operated a business. The report, On Entrepreneurism: A Statewide Survey of Business Owners, paints a picture of the business start-up by industry, life-cycle and size; identifies owners’ demographics, characteristics and interests; and examines policies, services and the role government and advocacy groups can play to support entrepreneurs.  The survey was conducted by Annapolis-based research firm OpinionWorks.

“We are fortunate to have within our State so many innovative self-starters, small and micro businesses, and rapidly growing gazelle firms that are an important part of our diverse business community,” said Governor O’Malley. “The results of this survey will help guide our efforts, both through policy and programs, to provide the resources, support and infrastructure needed to sustain and advance Maryland’s entrepreneur community so together we can create the next generation of companies and jobs.”

The survey found that most Marylanders (56%) have personal experience with business start-ups as a creator (founder or partner), participant (investor, employee or family member) or supporter and almost half (47%) have been directly involved in a business start-up as a creator or participant. For the 72% of Marylanders who have never been a business owner or partner, more than a third (44%) have considered starting a business and almost half of that group (47%) have considered it actively.

“This survey of Maryland entrepreneurs helped us discover that more than one-quarter of all residents have founded or partnered in the start-up of a business. Adding in investors, employees, and family members involved in the business, nearly half of all Marylanders have been directly affiliated with a business start-up,” said Steve Raabe, President of OpinionWorks. “These findings demonstrate an active and aware citizenry pursuing business opportunities that allow them to operate at the intersection of work and life.”

“We know from the Kauffman Foundation that more Americans became entrepreneurs during the recession than at any time in the past 15 years,” said DBED Secretary Christian Johansson, adding, “What is less known is how this new business activity translates in terms of industries, owner profile or prospective growth areas – especially here in Maryland. This survey points to further discussion and study on ways to connect, support and nurture entrepreneurs.”

The results revealed that most Marylanders (68%) believe the state should play a role in supporting business start-ups through financial or technical services. They added that the state should have a role encouraging business start-ups and are eager for the state to provide access to capital through grants and loans, as well as actively mentoring entrepreneurs.

“We can see from the survey results that Maryland’s technology (and professional services) sector is a key part of the start-up infrastructure, accounting for 16% of business ownership,” said Jason Hardebeck, GBTC CEO, adding, “As the region’s technology advocate, we are interested in further exploring how we can broaden opportunities for women entrepreneurs and more effectively target the tech savvy start-up at the seed stage.”

Other key findings from the survey include:

  • Slightly more than one-third (37%) of all owners have started more than one business.  One in ten business owners (11%) is a serial entrepreneur.
  • A third (33%) of all owners started their business since the economic downturn began in 2008.  These newest business owners are likely to be under age 35, and much more likely than the general population to be African-American.
  • Half (49%) of all owners started their business because of circumstances they did not anticipate; 44% indicated they always knew they would be a business owner.
  • Specialty trade contractors and construction businesses accounted for a fifth (19%) of new businesses, followed by professional, scientific, technical and IT services (16%).
  • Business owners are more likely to be male (61%) but mirror the general population almost exactly in terms of race and ethnicity.
  • Four out of every 10 owners plan to definitely (23%) or probably (19%) start another business.  When those who are “maybe” starting another business are added, the number rises to six of every 10 Marylanders.
  • An almost equal number of owners characterized their business life cycle as either start-up (32%), growing (36%) or mature (30%).
  • Small business owners are optimistic that they will hire more people in the next five years.

The survey interviewed 1,001 randomly-selected Marylanders by telephone.  The sample has a margin of error no greater than +/- 3.1% at the 95% confidence level.

ABOUT DBED: The Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development stimulates private investment and creates jobs by attracting new businesses, encouraging the expansion and retention of existing companies, and providing workforce training and financial assistance to Maryland companies. The Department promotes the State’s many economic advantages and markets local products and services at home and abroad to spur economic development and international investment, trade and tourism. Because they are major economic generators, the Department also supports the Arts, film production, sports and other special events. For more information, visit www.ChooseMaryland.org.

ABOUT THE GBTC: The Greater Baltimore Technology Council helps innovators, entrepreneurs and businesspeople define their industries and their success by removing boundaries and creating access to a community that is passionate about making the tech and innovation sector of the region great. GBTC connects its community with networking events, news, resources and the collective experience of businesses and thought leaders who are dedicated to cultivating tech in Baltimore and beyond.

ABOUT OPINIONWORKS: OpinionWorks is a full-service market research organization based in Annapolis.  They undertake opinion studies in Maryland and surrounding states, poll for The Baltimore Sun, work for agencies assessing citizen attitudes, and conduct studies for a variety of organizations. www.opinionworks.com

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Category: Features