With unemployment sitting at a staggering 26-year high of 9.7 percent, it's easy to get sucked downstream by the endless outpouring of dour news. But despite the steady drumbeat of jobless data, there is a pulse in the business world. As the economy struggles into its wobbly recovery mode, the truth is that entrepreneurs are still launching businesses--many of them quite successfully.
What happens in a recession--particularly a recession this deep--is that people stop taking risks and forget to look around. Innovation and creativity are replaced by fear and self-preservation. But if you take a moment to look around far outside the pages of the Wall Street Journal, what you'll see is that the recession has created opportunity in unexpected places--some of them very unusual.
Take for example, the Podbelt. This urban take on the fanny pack was developed by Isa Gordon, who was inspired by her many trips to the Burning Man festival (see the full story on Entrepreneur.com). In her opinion, fanny packs were "dorky." Despite the tricky economy--and a very niche product--Gordon launched her company this year and has sold 1,500 Podbelts through her website, and has an ever-expanding client base.
As unique as her product clearly is, Gordon's story is not. This year, entrepreneurs launched companies that ranged from designer morning sickness bags to more mainstream smartphone apps. All it takes is courage and passion to make it happen.
True entrepreneurs think counter-intuitively to the rest of the corporate world. When the financial markets jitter and the analysts proclaim the sky is falling, entrepreneurs go out and make sky-proof umbrellas. Yes, the economy is challenging, but in the right hands, it's rife with opportunity.