The financial crisis and Great Recession of 2008 and 2009 have left an indelible stamp on the American economy. Labor markets, educational attainment, and household wealth will carry the marks for many years, and tracking diverse measures of economic health like these will be crucial in monitoring the recovery. Business creation is no exception and, given its vital importance to innovation and job creation, the extent of the crisis' impact on new venture formation is of central interest for both policymakers and the general public.
Yet, one of the great frustrations of entrepreneurship research is the difficulty of obtaining current data. Most official statistics on business creation are several months or years old by the time they are released. This frustration with data collection is compounded by the inability of policymakers and others to get a grasp on who is starting companies and the challenges they face. To make headway against these challenges, LegalZoom and the Kauffman Foundation surveyed 1,431 individuals who formed businesses through LegalZoom over the past year. While this survey does not constitute anything resembling an entrepreneurship barometer, the resulting sample does provide a thumbnail picture of businesses that began operation last year. It offers a collection of fresh voices of early-stage business owners.