Sunday, January 25, 2009

Big Businesses That Started in a Recession

A recession is a period when the structure of the economy is shifting. Thus, it may be an interesting time to start up a business if the economy is, or will be, shifting in the direction of the new product or service a new business plans to provide.

Sarah Caron has put together a list of companies that started during a recession. The list includes (Comments by Caron):

Hyatt Corp. opened its first hotel’s doors at the Los Angeles International Airport during the Eisenhower recession (1957 to 1958).

Burger King Corp., with its flame-broiled burgers, is another recession startup. The company began in 1954 when James McLamore and David Edgerton opened a Burger King restaurant in Miami, Fla. During another recession in 1957, the company introduced its successful signature burger — the Whopper.

IHOP Corp. is another star from the Eisenhower recession. The first restaurant in the now national chain opened its doors July1958 in Toluca Lake, Calif.

The Jim Henson Company was created by famed puppeteer Jim Henson in 1958. Henson's business was responsible for some of the best-known puppet characters of all time including Miss Piggy, Kermit the Frog and Elmo.

FedEx Corp. began operations on April 17, 1973 as Federal Express, a nod to the Federal Reserve, with whom founder Frederick W. Smith had hoped to get a contract. He didn't.

Microsoft Corp. wasn't always the jaw-dropping enterprise it is today. In 1975, when it was created by Harvard University dropout Bill Gates, Microsoft was just a little company in Albuquerque, N.M. It dealt in rudimentary computing languages and began its climb to business stardom with the success of MS-DOS, which was sold and marketed to IBM Corp. and then-IBM clones.

CNN might be a news giant now, but in recession-plagued 1980, it was a little-known station called The Cable Network News.

MTV Networks brought something new and different to the music scene when it debuted in the economic slump of 1981.

Sports Illustrated magazine was launched on August 16, 1954, at the tail-end of a recession.

GE (General Electric Co.) was established in 1876 by famed American inventor Thomas Edison. In the middle of the Panic of 1873, a six-year recession, Edison created one of the best-known inventions of all time — the incandescent light bulb.

Caron's full report is here.


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