KSL INVESTIGATES

Gephardt: New Businesses Opening In Record Numbers In Utah

Feb 24, 2021, 11:25 PM | Updated: Feb 25, 2021, 5:22 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Closed stores and restaurants. Empty stadiums and Ubers. Largely abandoned airports and hotels.

Make no mistake — the past year has dealt many lemons to Utah workers. But the KSL Investigators found people are turning it into lemonade in record numbers.

Data shared by the Utah Department of Commerce shows 80,637 new businesses were registered in the state of Utah in 2020 — an increase of 4,848 from 2019.

And in just the last month, Utah added 1,839 new businesses — up 40% from a year prior.

Pandemic-be-darned: New Utah business is booming.

“Doesn’t make sense, right?” said Margaret Woolley-Busse, newly appointed executive director of the Utah Department of Commerce. “It feels very counterintuitive.”

Still, Woolley-Busse said Utah is trying to position itself as the “start-up” state, and the numbers tell her that it’s working.

“I think people are going to be primed to get going,” Woolley-Busse said. “I think that’s what we’re seeing already lots of innovation, and Utah is the place to be for that.”

Rhett Buttle, a former business adviser to the Joe Biden campaign, said the boom is not unique to Utah.

So many people are venturing into entrepreneurship right now that his business, Public Private Strategies, has partnered with AARP to launch a website aimed at helping people with ideas navigate all the hurdles of running a business.

Buttle said he credits the pandemic with lighting a fire in some people’s bellies to look for new ways to earn a living.

“When we are in moments of interesting periods in history like we are right now with COVID, we need as much innovation and entrepreneurship as possible,” he said. “That’s honestly when we see that American people are at their best.”

It’s not just new businesses that are booming. In Utah, so are new charities.

Chantelle Galloway started one called “Support the Small” after business at her Salt Lake City bridal shop slowed. Her charity sells hats and shirts, with the money raised going to help small business owners.

“Just trying to help people survive,” Galloway said.

She is in good company. State records show that in 2020, Utah registered 533 charities every single month, which was an increase of 19% from the year before.

Back to business, it’s hard to say exactly what types of businesses are launching based on new-business records. But, at a glance, it seems to be a wide variety getting off the ground in Utah.

But businesses that require individuals to be licensed paint a picture. Specifically, Utah has seen a massive spike in people getting their real estate licenses, Woolley-Busse said.

“We have seen about a 28% increase in the number of real estate-related licenses that we’ve issued this year, which is remarkable — huge uptick,” she said.

Records also show a spike in people entering the financial sector.

Woolley-Busse said she thinks Utah will see a lot more new business starts, and we can look forward to the future with a lot of optimism.

“The reality is that we’ve seen a lot of churn. People have obviously lost jobs, which has been heartbreaking. But there’s also been all this forced experimentation that has occurred because of the pandemic,” she said. “We’re all having to do things in very different ways and that’s giving people different ideas for businesses.”

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

KSL Investigates

FILE - Thousand gather at the Utah State Capitol to support a woman's right to choose. (KSL TV)...
Daniella Rivera

‘It was hastily passed’: Medical, legal experts raise concerns about Utah’s abortion trigger law

Senate Bill 174, passed by the Utah Legislature in 2020, was crafted, in part, to send a message. Now, medical and legal experts are sounding alarm bells about how it will work in practice.
21 hours ago
FILE - Credit and deposit cards on a computer keyboard. Electronic commerce, business. Online shopp...
Matt Gephardt

Gephardt Busts Inflation: Americans shy away from using credit cards abroad, missing out on best exchange rates

As COVID-19 wanes, travel agencies are seeing a massive spike in bookings as folks look to spread their wings and travel abroad.
21 hours ago
KSL-TV's Matt Gephardt talks to the couple to see how this accident happen....
Matt Gephardt and Cindy St. Clair, KSL TV

Utah couple gets hit with sky-high surprise air ambulance bill

A perk of hitting that out-of-pocket max limit on your health insurance is usually, your insurance covers all other expenses for the year 100%. When a Highland couple continued to get bills, they asked KSL Investigator Matt Gephardt for help.
4 days ago
Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are all making news with wild up-and-down swings in value. (File...
Matt Gephardt and Sloan Schrage, KSL TV

Congress considers crypto legislation: What you need to know

It's been a rough year for cryptocurrencies. Prices reached record heights this past November, but by last week, crypto has lost $2 trillion of its market value. Now, there's a new plan for the Feds to regulate cryptocurrencies.
5 days ago
(KSL TV)...
Matt Gephardt

Gephardt Busts Inflation: Despite growing demand for digital coupons, most are still printed

Researchers found that 91% of all coupons are old-fashioned paper coupons. That’s a problem when you compare it to consumer demand.
8 days ago
...
Matt Gephardt & Sloan Schrage, KSL TV

Gephardt busts inflation: Is saving hundreds on your internet bill worth the hassle?

When you sign up for internet, you need a modem to connect and router for your home's Wi-Fi. But most internet service providers charge you to use their equipment, on top of what you pay for their plan. But did you know you can buy your own and potentially save hundreds of dollars? The thing is, it’s not necessarily that simple.
9 days ago

Sponsored Articles

hand holding 3d rendering mobile connect with security camera for security solutions...
Les Olson

Wondering what security solutions are right for you? Find out more about how to protect your surroundings

Physical security helps everyone. Keep your employees, clients, and customers safe with security solutions that protect your workplace.
Many rattan pendant lights, hay hang from the ceiling.Traditional and simple lighting....
Lighting Design

The Best Ways to Style Rattan Pendant Lighting in Your Home

Rattan pendant lights create a rustic and breezy feel, and are an easy way to incorporate this hot trend into your home decor.
Earth day 2022...
1-800-GOT-JUNK?

How Are You Celebrating Earth Day 2022? | 4 Simple Ways to Celebrate Earth Day and Protect the Environment

Earth Day is a great time to reflect on how we can be more environmentally conscious. Here are some tips for celebrating Earth Day.
Get Money Online...

More Ways to Get Money Online Right Now in Your Spare Time

Here are 4 easy ways that you can get more money online if you have some free time and want to make a little extra on the side.
Lighting trends 2022...

Lighting Trends 2022 | 5 Beautiful Home Lighting Trends You Can Expect to See this Year and Beyond

This is where you can see the latest lighting trends for 2022 straight from the Lightovation Show at the Dallas World Trade Center.
What Can't You Throw Away in the Trash...

What Can’t You Throw Away in the Trash? | 5 Things You Shouldn’t Throw in to Your Trash Can

What can't you throw away in the trash? Believe it or not, there are actually many items that shouldn't be thrown straight into the trash.
Gephardt: New Businesses Opening In Record Numbers In Utah