Startups flock to the city that never sleeps

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The Empire State of New York is the centre of the world, at least for several new startups that have grown there rapidly in the past 20 years.

A new study by the Centre for an Urban Future found that startups in the US city almost doubled over the 20-year period, as population grew substantially and economic activity flourished, making districts beyond Manhattan very attractive to entrepreneurs.

From a modest 35,000 new businesses founded in New York in 1991, the number soared to 65,000 by 2011.

“I think this is just a far more entrepreneurial city than it was 20 years ago. People are seeing entrepreneurship all around them and it’s infectious,” stated Jonathan Bowles, the Centre’s Executive Director.

However, the report also revealed how the 2008 financial crisis severely affected the Big Apple’s startup scene. In 2006, before the downturn struck, there were more than 67,000 new businesses in New York, and then the numbers declined during the downturn. Growth managed to revert back afterwards.

“The numbers are going back up again, but they haven’t yet exceeded that level [set] in 2006 and 2007, except for Brooklyn,” he noted.

In fact, Brooklyn is the only district that recorded more startups compared to 2007’s level, with 19,351 new enterprises in 2011, trailing Manhattan’s nearly 23,000.

Remarkably, the number of new startups in the Bronx surged more than three times since 1991, which represented the highest percentage growth. This sharp rise is due to a spike in technology firms.

Specifically, the Bronx posted a 305 per cent growth, followed by Brooklyn at 161 per cent, Queens at 128 per cent, Staten Island with 93 per cent and Manhattan’s 25 per cent.