October 3, 2023

COVID Pandemic is spreading.

Markets are declining.

Massive layoffs have already started and more are yet to come. 

Several businesses have already collapsed.

We are going to face a long recession that is going to shake this world. And many would-be entrepreneurs are waiting to get this blow to over to start their dream enterprise.

But is this the best option?

It is known that starting an enterprise is very difficult. Troubled times like this can create many hindrances in succeeding. But that is entrepreneurship is all about! Facing obstacles and finding opportunities in them. For those who are persistent, this recession is going to offer a lot of opportunities to start an enterprise and deliver value to the world.

How do I know this? When we analyse the history, we can find that recessions were a launchpad of some of the world’s successful businesses. According to Mattermark.com, the largest numbers of US software companies were founded from 2003 to 2014 was in 2009, at the end of the Global Financial Crisis.


Let’s see some of the most successful businesses that have started during the recession.

8 Successful companies founded during recession

1. General Electric

Year Launched: 1892

2019 Revenue: $95.2 Billion

General Electric was formed by the merger of Tompson-Houston (founded 1879) and Edison General Electric (founded 1890) ( by Thomas Alwa Edison – world-renowned scientist) in 1892, just before the recession of 1893 – a panic lasted for 16 months where business production comes down to 40%. The company offers various products and services in aviation, healthcare, power, renewable energy, digital industry, additive manufacturing, venture capital and finance, and lighting.


2. IBM

Year Launched: 1911

2019 Revenue: $77.1 Billion

Started by Charles Flint in 1911 as Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company (CTR). IBM started to sell its machines during a 2 year panic of 1910-1911. When every company’s growth was declining, CTR aka IBM was able to thrive and became a leader in technology.

3. Uber

Year Launched: 2009

2019 Revenue : $14.15 billion 

Uber, is an American multinational ride-hailing company which offers peer-to-peer ridesharing, and food delivery services. Launched near the end of the Global Financial Crisis (GFC), Uber came at the best time for those who were looking to earn a part-time income, especially those who were laid off during the recession.

4. Whatsapp

Year Launched: 2009

Valuation :$19 billion

Jan Koum and Brian Acton, the former employees of Yahoofound Whatsapp in 2009 when they were unemployed. They started this app after realizing the market potential of the application industry with the introduction of the App Store. Before starting Whatsapp, they have applied for jobs at Facebook but got rejected. Later Whatsapp was acquired by Facebook for $19.3 billion.

5. Disney

Year Launched: 1929

2019 Revenue: $69.6 Billion

Walt and Roy Disney incorporated Walt Disney Productions in 1929 just before the 4-year Great Depression was getting started.

The Disney brothers knew that in the midst of the great depression, America needed a smile and they succeeded in overcoming the challenges of the depression and released the first full length animated film –Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, just after the great depression. 


6. HP

Year Launched: 1939

 2019 Revenue: $58.8 Billion

The recession of 1937-1938 was one of the worst recessions of the 20th century. During this recession, William Hewlett and David Packard decided to start their new company Hewlett-Packard. They successfully built one of the most powerful companies in the world. Now HP is developing and providing a variety of hardware components and software services to consumers, SMEs, and large enterprises.

 a7. Microsoft

Year Launched: 1975

 2019 Revenue: $125.8 Billion

Bill Gates and Paul Allen started Microsoft on April 4, 1975, just after the 16-month recession (due to the oil crisis and stock market crash). Now it is dominating the operating system market with Microsoft Windows and the software market with office products, Microsoft Azure and more. In April 2019, Microsoft became the third U.S. public company to be valued at over $1 trillion after Apple and Amazon.

 8. General Motors

Year Launched: 1908

 2019 Revenue: $137.2 Billion

William Durant launched GM in the mid of the 13-month recession of 1907. He acquired several automobiles manufacturers during this recession.

The Great Depression of 1929 caused the closure of many automakers and one of every four American workers lose their job. Even then, General Motors continued to make a profit of at least 10% these days except 1932.

This list shows what is still possible even during unfavourable conditions if we act appropriately. The coming years won’t be the best time to start for everyone. The path of entrepreneurship is hard. Businesses need to operate lean and should make better decisions compared to the time of a growing market.

But if you think that your idea can bring value to the market and is ready for the world, then it might be the ideal moment to work on your business idea. Just like these famous brands show us, if you are persistent about your dreams, nothing can stop you.

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