Challenging economic times can serve as a catalyst for the entrepreneurial spirit and lead to the creation of much-needed new jobs: 69% more unemployed US workers started a business in 2009 than they did a year earlier, according to a report from TrendsSpotting.

Over one-half of the companies on the 2009 Fortune 500 list, and just under one-half of those on the 2008 Inc 500 list, were founded during a recession or bear market, TrendsSpotting points out.

Still, one-half (50%) of innovation-driven countries, including the US, registered declines in the numbers of new business startups in 2009, according to the report.

Below, other findings from TrendsSpotting's the New Entrepreneur 2010 & Beyond, compiled from various research sources for

The drive to open a new business comes from within: Nearly two-thirds (66%) of entrepreneurs say they were inspired to start a business by innate desire, not by education or training.

People most likely to be involved in entrepreneurial activities are adults age 55-64, while younger adults (age 20-24) are the least likely to be involved in such activities. Meanwhile, 39 is the average age of US-born technology entrepreneurs at the time they started their companies.

Home-based Businesses

Home-based businesses have become a mainstay of the US economy:

  • 50% of all US businesses are based out of the home.
  • 13 million people are employed by home businesses.
  • 6.6 million home-based businesses contribute at least 50% of their total household income.
  • 8% of home-based businesses have revenues of $500,000+, and 35% have revenues of $125,000+.

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Overall, most entrepreneurs report weak business performance as a result of the economic downturn:

  • 66% of entrepreneurs say sales and business profitability were down in 2009.
  • 8% say they added employees in 2009.
  • 71% say they don't expect to add any new jobs in 2010.
  • 61% say the economy is on the wrong track.
  • 50% say it was more difficult to start a business in 2009 than it was in 2008.

In the future, many entrepreneurs will rely on social media for new business opportunities:

  • 41% of entrepreneurs say Twitter delivers great value to their companies.
  • 84% expect their use of Twitter to grow over the next six months.
  • 25% of entrepreneurs say they will commit more resources to social media.

About the data: Findings from the New Entrepreneur 2010 & Beyond were compiled by TrendsSpotting on behalf of from combined sources, including the Ewing Marion Kaufman Foundation, Emergent Research, GEM's Global Monitor 2009 Entrepreneurship Survey, MarketingProfs, and Ad-ology Research.

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