Iowans do not throw in the towel when times get tough. They make more towels! Despite, or quite possibly because of layoffs, staff, and supply chain shortages, all of which saw many businesses having to close or adjust their operations nationwide, the entrepreneurial spirit was alive and well here in Iowa in 2021.

Business kept booming in Iowa, despite a pandemic

According to Radio Iowa, state law requires documents to be filed every single time a new business is formed, and those numbers are collected by the office of Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate. After filing, they must check in twice a year to confirm the business is still operating and all the data is collected by Pate, who said "we’re seeing an upward trend. We have over 35,000 new businesses that were formed in 2021 alone and in the last three years it’s gone up, up and up, and that’s in the middle of Covid and a downward economy.”

If anything, Pate thinks the pandemic and resulting poor economic conditions gave folks a "nothing to lose" attitude and the confidence to start something while almost everyone was in the same boat. In other cases, their own loss or reduction in work may have made it necessary.

Let's look at the numbers

Nationwide, 5.4 million new businesses were started in 2021. That is 1 million more compared to 2020, which in its own right set a record. In Iowa, it's an unofficial count, as Pate admits, but the upward trend continued with around 35,320 new business filings in 2021, up from 27,000 in 2020 and 25,000 in 2019. It all adds up to a total of 260,000 businesses on file in Iowa at this writing.

Congratulations to the new business owners who have made a challenging couple of years work in their favor.


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