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This story appears in the May 2004 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

When the U.S. economy goes into a downturn, more Americans,forced out of their old jobs, start businesses. Ultimately, thesenew businesses help power an economic recovery, providing jobs andputting money in the pockets of consumers. It happened during thelast major economic slowdown, in the early 1990s.

Given this history, many economists were prepared forentrepreneurs to lead the country out of the economic slowdown ofthe early 2000s. But for a time, entrepreneurs didn't respond.In the summer of 2003, John Satagaj, president of the SmallBusiness Legislative Council, said, "I expected us to be in an[entrepreneurial] spurt. I haven't seen it yet."

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