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As Northeast Ohio businesses close for good, a record number get started

The pandemic is hitting small businesses hard. It's inevitable to see empty store fronts, but the state is also seeing people launch businesses at a record number.

CLEVELAND — Even though we are starting to see life getting back to "normal" in some ways, small businesses are still getting hit hard by the pandemic. Research shows 25-36 percent of small businesses will close for good by the end of 2020.

Kevin Johnson, a COSE and Greater Cleveland Partnership board chair, says that number rings true for our mom and pop places in Northeast Ohio.

His warning is dire.

“It's almost an inevitability that we would look at and say, we don't want to think about that. But at the same time, because it's happening right in front of our eyes, what we know is that we are going to see a lot of store fronts that are empty, you're going to see some ghost town plazas, you're going to see people adding to the unemployment numbers that we have.”

RELATED: 80% of Ohio restaurants don't expect to break even in 2020 amid the ongoing pandemic, survey says

Other businesses -- what he describes as "on life support" -- are trying to turn a profit, serve customers and stay off the unemployment line. The hardest hit industries in town are restaurants and service businesses that require someone to go into a customer's home.

But there's also a bright side to all of this. Jumpstart Cleveland, which helps small businesses launch, says Ohio is seeing a huge increase in startups.

“What surprised me, if you look at the state of Ohio, they put out the formation numbers each month, the secretary of state does and both May and June were record breakers for new company formation. June there were 16,000 new companies formed. That could be a new retailer, that could be a new restaurant, that could be someone cleaning out hospitals,” says Heather Hall.

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And according to Ohio’s Secretary of State, July shattered that record with more than 18,000 new businesses formed. August numbers are due out soon.

Jumpstart just launched a new program called "Entrepreneur Roadmap," which is like a playbook to help tech Entrepreneurs grow their startups. If you are someone who wants to launch a business, Jumpstart helps with one on one business advising, workshops and other programs.

RELATED: End of an era: Cleveland's I-X Center to close at the end of this year due to pandemic

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