New business filings in Ohio keep breaking records

Ohioans continue to create new businesses at a torrid pace during the COVID-19 pandemic, something that does not surprise Dayton entrepreneur Tae Winston.

“People had to get creative,” said Winston, founder of The Entrepreneurs Connection in Dayton.

In May, 20,135 new businesses were created in Ohio, up 56 percent compared to May 2019, said Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose. This April’s new business filings surpassed a record 20,000 for the first time in the state’s history.

“With 171,000 new businesses created last year during the pandemic and almost 100,000 new businesses already created in the first five months of 2021, Ohioans continue to defy expectations and demonstrate the pioneer spirit of risk-taking and entrepreneurship that is getting our economy back on track,” LaRose said in a news release.

He said even amid the uncertainty of the pandemic, “Ohioans continue to follow their dreams in record numbers, creating businesses and enterprises that they can pour their grit and passion into for a future for themselves and their families.”

People file forms with LaRose’s office to declare the formation of a business entity, including for-profit, nonprofit and professional corporations, limited liability companies, partnerships, limited partnerships and limited liability partnerships. The filing does not mean that the company has begun operations.



Winston said 63 retail businesses operate out of her three Dayton locations: The Entrepreneurs Marketplace, which is for pop-ups, and The Entrepreneurs Shoppe and the Entrepreneurs Connection, which are for permanent stores.

She opened the marketplace at 13 N. Williams St. in December 2019, the Shoppe at 1109 W. Third St. in May 2020 and the Connection at 200 Wayne Ave. in April. She also has classroom space for entrepreneur training at the Wayne Avenue location.

“I provided a platform for entrepreneurs that don’t have a store front, to push their brand and basically give them hope,” Winston said.

During the worst months of the pandemic when having customers inside stores was not possible, she operated “drive-through” style. Her retail tenants displayed their products online during a Facebook Live and then met customers curbside to deliver what they bought.



She said some people started businesses after losing their own jobs during the pandemic. And for those still working regular jobs, her company provides space to have a shop and leave their products on display while going to their regular jobs.

“You don’t have to quit your job to be great,” Winston said.

Start-up businesses are one of the signs that an economy is recovering, said Roger Geiger, Ohio executive director of the National Federation of Independent Businesses.

He said entrepreneurs take a risk, and only about half of start-ups survive past five years.

The pandemic crisis likely forced some people to reevaluate their life plans, said Chris Kershner, president and CEO of the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce.

“We are seeing early retirements, entrepreneurs looking for new models and businesses redefining themselves,” Kershner said. “This leads to new risks, new opportunities and new businesses.”

New businesses in Ohio by the numbers
171,073 new business filings in 2020
20,135 new businesses created in May 2020
56% increase in new business filings compared to May 2019
Source: Ohio Secretary of State

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