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Small Business Digest


Fourteen Big Businesses That Started in a Recession

Several well-known enterprises were founded in a recession.   Why did these companies succeed? Usually it's because the founders recognized a market need and filled it.

Hyatt Corp. opened its first hotel’s doors at the Los Angeles International Airport during the Eisenhower recession and now operates more than 365 hotels in 25 countries.

Burger King Corp. began in 1954 and today, the company operates more than 11,100 locations in 65 countries.

IHOP Corp.  opened its doors July 1958 and began franchising just three years later. Now, there are more than 1,300 locations across the U.S.

The Jim Henson Company was created by famed puppeteer Jim Henson in 1958. Today, the privately held company to thrive by creating popular kids-friendly shows and movies.

LexisNexis began its LexisNexis computerized legal research service during the 1973 oil crisis. The now Web-based service is used in 100 countries by individuals in law, government, education and business.

FedEx Corp. began operations on April 17, 1973. The company that delivered 186 packages to 25 cities on its first night of operations now manages more than 7.5 million shipments everyday worldwide.

Microsoft Corp. was created in 1975 by Harvard University dropout Bill Gates; now, the company is estimated to earn more than $60 billion in revenue per year.

CNN started in 1980 as The Cable Network News. Today, 1.5 billion people across the globe watch CNN.

MTV Networks debuted in1981 as an all-music-video channel. Today, MTV is a well-known, successful global brand.

Trader Joe's started as a chain of convenience stores called Pronto Markets in 1958. In 1967, the company changed its name to Trader Joe's and now operates more than 280 stores in the U.S.

Wikipedia Foundation Inc. was rstablished in January 2001, the online encyclopedia had more than 100,000 entries by 2003. Today it is home to more than 2.5 million articles.

Sports Illustrated magazine was launched on August 16, 1954, at the tail-end of a recession. Sports Illustrated now sells about 3 million copies in the U.S. each week.

GE (General Electric Co.) was established in 1876. The enterprise has evolved from a manufacturing-strong business to an enterprise earning more than 50 percent of its revenue from its financial services division.

HP (Hewlett-Packard Development Company LP) was born in a Palo Alto garage at the end of the Great Depression. The electronic company, initially supported by a mere $538 investment, has grown into the first technology business to exceed $100 billion in revenue, earning $104 billion in 2007.

Start-ups are not the only ones that stand to gain from recessions. Pre-existing companies can also make incredible gains in years where the economy is down.
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