Independently-owned businesses climb despite business set back during the pandemic


BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) – Independently-owned businesses climb despite business set back during the pandemic.

Researchers say even though the pandemic did cause issues for businesses during the year 2020, that doesn’t mean it stopped entrepreneurs from taking matters into their own hands.

The Census Bureau has been tracking this for a while and already, there are more new businesses since last month. It even occurred in the Capital Region and analysts are expecting more independently-owned businesses in the future.

For some during the pandemic, since they had a lot of time on their hands, they decided to start a business.

At least that’s what 21-year-old college student Brock Miller chose to do when he first started working on kayaks back in July.

“People were going fish more than ever and they were breaking stuff more than ever on their kayaks,” said Miller. “So, a lot of guys knew that I worked in a retail store in the past, so they knew I could do this stuff. So, they ended up reaching out to me and they come by the house. I fix up their pedals, rudder, or something like that.”

That’s when he decided to create his own business, Louisiana Custom Kayaks. He not only fixes kayaks but adds gadgets to them. For example, he puts fish finders, anchor systems, marine mats, or just about anything on kayaks.

However, Miller said he knows that he’s not the only one out there trying to create their own startup.

“I’ve seen it a lot. I’ve seen some guys do it with woodworking and like pressure washing, guys my age. Kind that just kind of got bored twiddling their thumbs and just decided to go out and do something,” added Miller.

That’s exactly what the Baton Rouge Area Chamber (BRAC) saw, an increase of about 2% to 3% in independent startups.

“I think that we are going to see an increase over the next few weeks as well and maybe through the rest of the year,” said Andrew Fitzgerald, BRAC’s senior director of business intelligence. “One thing is unlike the last recession. People’s bank accounts and balance sheets were still really strong because of the stimulus and enhanced unemployment. A lot of people that may have never thought to start a business decided, ‘I got a little bit of money and some time on my hands.’”

BRAC researchers say most of these micro-businesses do have the possibility of growing, as long as entrepreneurs put their minds to it.

“There’s been some mistakes along the way and lessons learned but the way I see it, I’m making these mistakes now, so later on down the road, I kind of know how to handle it,” explained Miller.

BRAC added it is looking into getting more funding for small businesses. That way, they have more resources when starting out.

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