AUSTIN (KXAN) — While many small businesses were struggling to keep their doors open over the past year, data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows more business applications were filed during the pandemic than in previous years.
That was true across the country and here in Texas.
“One of those moments, like, ‘should I stay in this industry? What’s going to happen to our industry?'” Reese Cisneros remembered thinking when she found herself out of work in the hospitality industry last March.
When a contract gig came along a few months later, she took it, going from 11 years of event planning to coordinating nurses for an emergency management company.
“Helping these travel nurses just get to where they were high, you know in high demand and hot spot cities… that’s when I realized… you have to do your consulting,” Cisneros said.
That’s when she officially launched her consulting company, Strategies by Reese.
Data from the Census Bureau shows two major spikes in new business applications during the pandemic: July 2020 and January 2021.
“The pattern is sort of consistent across the board. So, I’ve looked at retail, accommodation and food, transportation and information sectors,” said Swati Bhatt, Princeton University Economics professor.
Bhat is researching what exactly caused the spikes, as well as the year-over-year increase in new business applications.
“The new business applications were higher than they have been in the past 15 years leading up to the third quarter of 2020,” she said.
Before the pandemic, Lyons had plans to open up a restaurant.
“I was a little scared,” said Lyons, who decided to roll out a food truck instead.
“Everybody was doing takeout, nobody was doing dine-in, so I felt like that would be a positive for me,” said Lyons, Ike-N-Aves food truck owner, in Pflugerville.
For Cisneros, who now had plenty of time, she saw opportunity to consult others who are cash and resource strapped.
“For those companies that can’t hire somebody full time, it kind of works out, you know. They don’t have the resources to do that right now, but I have the skill set to do that, and the capacity. And just to kind of jump in,” she said.
“Why not start trying to figure out what you can do that you can not only be passionate about, but you can actually have control over?” said Lyons.
Austin Chamber of Commerce says it doesn’t have the same high-frequency data as the Census Bureau, but it expects Austin’s numbers would mirror the same increase in new business applications reflected in national and state data.