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New Small Business Applications Hit Record Numbers in 2021, Expected to Continue in 2022

Published January 11, 2022

WASHINGTON, Jan. 11th, 2022  –  Small business formations hit record numbers in 2021, a trend expected to continue in 2022 as many Americans pursue their dream of owning their own business, according to meta-data analysis by SCORE, mentors to America’s small businesses and a resource partner of the U.S. Small Business Administration.

New small business applications steadily increase over past five years:

  • 3 million in 2016
  • 3.2 million in 2017
  • 3.5 million in 2018 and 2019
  • 4.4 million in 2020
  • 5+ million in 2021

Industries highly affected by the pandemic showed the largest gains in new business applications, according to the data. Retail trade applications grew 74% in 2021, as compared to pre-pandemic numbers in 2019. Many small business retailers are going digital, with 88% of entrepreneurs saying online sales are an important source of revenue and 97% indicating digital tech is crucial to their business. In addition to retail, rising new business applications were up 55% in the accommodation and food service sector; while health and social assistance new business applications rose 23%.

SCORE provides free mentoring, resources for business startups

"As new business applications have risen, so have mentoring requests from entrepreneurs seeking startup guidance: SCORE mentor requests increased 10.75% in 2021 vs. 2020,” according to SCORE CEO Bridget Weston. “As more and more people decide they want to create their own businesses, SCORE stands ready to provide the support needed for these entrepreneurs to be successful.”

Former teacher Danielle Neal of Baltimore, MD, worked with SCORE to turn her part-time work helping small business owners with marketing and social media into a full-time role. As the pandemic continued, I wanted to take my livelihood into my own hands,” said Neal, who launched Digital with Danielle in May of 2021. “With the help of SCORE, I’ve been able to take my business to the next level, and I am already expanding by hiring my first employee.”

Patricia Wynn of Hillsborough, North Carolina, spent more than 30 years in the fast-food industry before starting her own lifestyle assistance company, Patricia Services LLC, in April of 2021. “When I started on this journey, I didn’t know how to run my own business. I was excited but nervous about how to navigate it all,” said Wynn. “With the help of my SCORE mentor, I was able to have a strong launching point. Being a small business owner has taught me to strive for much more than I could have ever imagined for myself.”

“SCORE wants small business owners to know that they are not alone in their journey to entrepreneurship,” said Weston. “Our mission is to foster vibrant small business communities through mentoring and educational tools, including our Startup Roadmap. We want to make it as easy as possible for anyone to achieve their dream of starting and owning a business.”

To learn more, visit

About SCORE:
Since 1964, SCORE has helped 11 million entrepreneurs to start, grow or troubleshoot a business. SCORE's 10,000 volunteers provide free mentoring, workshops and educational services to 1,500+ communities nationwide, creating 45,027 new businesses and 74,535 non-owner jobs in 2020 alone. Follow @SCOREMentors on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.

Funded [in part] through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Betsy Dougert




PR Newswire

712 H St NE PMB 98848
Washington, DC 20002

Copyright © 2024 SCORE Association,

Funded, in part, through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. All opinions, and/or recommendations expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA.

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