The Day – Despite pandemic, R.I. sees record number of new businesses

PROVIDENCE — The coronavirus pandemic forced the shutdown of businesses and sent unemployment soaring in Rhode Island and across the nation, but in what seems like a contradiction, a record number of new businesses have been launched in the Ocean State this year.

As of Wednesday, 10,124 new businesses had been registered with the state Secretary of State’s Office during 2020, the first time the state has seen more than 10,000 in a single year, WPRI-TV reported Thursday.

Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea said her office has identified patterns in the new businesses.

“We’ve seen some increase in day cares, cleaning companies and there are also business owners who recently lost a job because of the contraction in some companies and have decided to become self-employed,” Gorbea said.

University of Rhode Island professor of business administration Edward Mazze said there is a big difference between starting a business and making it successful.

“Many of those businesses may be nothing more than a front to keep someone busy,” Mazze said. “The real test is how many of them are going to be around a year from now.”

Lauren Ezovski recently launched a website for her marketplace, Parts Unlimited Direct, where she sells miscellaneous equipment at discounted rates after losing her previous job of two decades.

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