Frontier -- Special Report
How We Got Here
It's 1989. Crude oil from the Exxon Valdez is still clogging Alaska's waterways. George Bush is fretting about losing America's global supremacy to Japan. The U.S. economy is reeling. And you want to start a business? You would have been ridiculed as desperate, someone who "can't get a real job."
How times have changed. The timeline on the following pages traces how by the recession's end in 1993, corporate layoffs had unleashed legions of highly trained white-collar managers, many of whom sunk their fat severance packages into startups. By '95, easy credit in preapproved loans fanned ambitions, and by '97, Corporate America was directing a blizzard of ads at the largely untapped small-business market. A soaring stock market helped funnel billions in new capital into startups, gave entrepreneurs a glamorous patina, and set the prevailing mood: The right idea and work ethic can make you fabulously wealthy--and small business is where the action is.By Dennis Berman