ORLANDO, Fla. — While many small businesses struggled to stay open during the COVID-19 pandemic, new data shows it also caused an unexpected spike in Florida.
Experts say the pandemic provided the perfect opportunity for people to reassess and take the plunge into entrepreneurship.
According to data from the Census Bureau, new business applications doubled in the state of Florida from April to July of 2020, and the numbers have remained above the average since.
“Having time to reassess what they were doing was the creation of a lot of innovation,” President of the National Entrepreneur Center Jerry Ross said.
Ross says calls to their center spiked during the pandemic, and that interest isn’t slowing down.
“A lot of times when things start to go back to normal people start to go back to their old habits,” Ross said. “That’s not happening. We’re seeing people here saying, ‘what’s next?’ and ‘how do I grow?’”
Christopher Buxton, owner of Dolce in Orlando, is a perfect example of the trend.
Buxton says when the pandemic forced him to shut down one of his restaurant locations, it also helped plant the seed for the idea that would become Dolce.
“I am a person that can’t sit still,” Buxton said. “So I needed to do something.”
Buxton says he came up with the idea for Dolce in March of 2020. Locked down and with nothing to do, Buxton and his business partner began strategizing.
“We’re always discussing, how can we come out of this pandemic better than we were when we went into this pandemic,” Buxton said.
The result was a brunch-all-day concept that became Dolce.
Data shows Buxton wasn’t alone. According to the Census Bureau, more than 50,000 other new businesses came to Orange County just in 2021.
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