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How has COVID-19 Changed Challenges for Entrepreneurs? Implications for Entrepreneurship Support

This report shares findings from a spring 2020 survey of 850 entrepreneurs about their experience during the pandemic, and compares them to results from a survey of more than 400 entrepreneurs in fall 2019, prior to the pandemic.

COVID-19 has brought widespread changes to the lives and livelihoods of entrepreneurs across the United States. The compounded pressures related to public health, the economy, and the policy environment under COVID-19 have created a great deal of both personal and business uncertainty; and have fundamentally disrupted the entrepreneurial economy.

Many businesses closed their brick-and-mortar locations, changed their business operations, and faced significant uncertainty related both to the pandemic as well as to the market, societal, and public policy responses accompanying it. The widespread economic effects of the crisis have changed consumer demand and behavior, and its global impact has had implications for supply chains.

Entrepreneurs are facing a threat to their health and that of their families, employees, and customers, as well as an economic recession and a new, more complicated policy and regulatory environment. These pressures are compounded by the substantial uncertainty about future changes in each of these domains.