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Futurework

Trends and Challenges for Work in the 21st Century


futurework: Chapter 4 - Box 4.1

B O X 4.1

AMERICAN SMALL BUSINESSES

New business formation reached a record level in 1998 with an estimated 898,000 new firms.

While it seems that "high tech" ventures are all the rage, high-tech firms may actually account for only two percent of all small business start-ups. Small businesses come in all shapes and sizes,* but many still begin as a one-person shop in the garage. In many cases, Americans are turning their hobbies into lucrative new businesses. Roughly 60 percent of all new small businesses are started in the home with existing technology and capital, which may mean the kids’ computer and the parents’ credit card. People with disabilities are taking advantage of benefits afforded by entrepreneurship—they have more small business experience and higher rates of self-employment than people without disabilities.

Small businesses currently employ about half of the private-sector workforce.

*While it varies with the industry, the Small Business Administration

definition of small business includes companies with as many as 500 employees.

Source: Small Business Administration, Office of Advocacy

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