Poor economy sparks record interest in entrepreneurship

//September 24, 2009//

Poor economy sparks record interest in entrepreneurship

//September 24, 2009//

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UCEDC offers advice to growing crowd of startups seeking help launching their business plans.Nancy Jordan, of Plainfield, went to a workshop in New Brunswick Wednesday night seeking advice on how to launch a small business that she hopes will help replenish her retirement savings.

In the wake of the market slump, “everyone needs a plan B,” she said.

Jordan was among more than 20 who attended an introductory session of the Entrepreneurial Training Initiative, a course taught by Union-based nonprofit UCEDC. Those who enroll in ETI will learn to write a business plan, be taught the basics of running a small business and get advice on how to line up financing.

The turnout was about twice the number who attended ETI workshops in good times, but the economic slump sparked a surge in interest in new business startups, said Alexander Marin, of UCEDC, who led the workshop.

The loss of a job motivates many would-be entrepreneurs, Marin said. “They tell us, ‘I lost my job, and I’ve always had a business idea on the back burner, and now is the time to go forward.’” Others are starting businesses to supplement the lost earnings of an unemployed spouse, “and a lot of small businesses are just faltering — there are small businesses right now where the water is up to their ears, and it’s either sink or swim.”

Kim Outlaw, a tax preparer who owns Morrison Agency, in Elizabeth, said he’s considering taking the course to gain some marketing skills. Meanwhile, Carlton Kornegay, of New Brunswick, an architectural draftsman who has helped investors acquire commercial real estate, said he wants to own his own apartment building for a change.

“I’m trying to get any information that will help,” he said. “The biggest trouble is financial — finding the money to support what you want to do.”

E-mail Beth Fitzgerald at [email protected]