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Corporate refugees can be a boon to a small business--as long as you both know what to expect before jumping in.

This story appears in the May 2005 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Next time you're looking for workers, your friendly neighborhood Fortune 500 company may be the place to start. Due to a wave of downsizing, layoffs and early-retirement programs that have swept through the corporate world, lots of people who have experience working for big companies are ready to try working for small ones.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics counted 16,334 mass layoffs involving 50 or more people during the year that ended last October. The events left over 1.6 million people out of corporate jobs and countless others wondering whether to leave before the next round of layoffs began.

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