The best time to start a business is during a recession

Glass buildingIf you live in Dublin, then you are in one of the greatest places in the world to start a new business. Dublin has recently been named as one of the best new global cities for start-ups, because of its top universities and business-friendly policies.

‘OK, but what about the recession?’ I hear you ask. Despite what you may think, a recession provides great opportunities for new businesses; ones that you won’t get during a period of growth.

Some of the advantages of a recession include:

  • Lower costs: everything including labour, equipment, office space and so on is cheaper and more plentiful, and will allow you to get your business started more quickly, using less money.
  • Available talent: as there are fewer current job opportunities, there will be more people looking for work with all the professional experience and skills that your business needs. Finding the right people is vital for successfully driving your business idea forward.
  • Fresh ideas: during a time of economic decline, businesses that bring new and exciting ideas are more likely to attract positive media attention, helping to build your business more quickly. Existing companies will also be on the lookout for cheaper and more innovative products and services to revitalise their own businesses, providing you with more potential clients than usual.
  • Learning more: starting a business during a recession will teach you to look after your money even more carefully. You will learn some important business lessons before the economy picks up again, which will prepare you well for the growth period.
  • Opportunities to turn things around: with fewer graduate jobs, there’s even more of a reason to follow through with your business ideas. You can bring in money for yourself and work independently, without the risk of being made redundant.  There are also more opportunities to turn around struggling businesses. SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) are often the driving force behind the economy, and can help to pull a country out of a recession, which is yet another incentive for starting one up.

Starting a business brings with it many risks, even during the best of times. But, if you have a great idea and are willing to take a few risks, then setting up a business during a recession could really play to your advantage.

Successful graduate start-ups

The founders of these three companies spotted opportunities in the growing technology market in Ireland, and refused to let the recession deter them from pursuing their business ideas. All three businesses have been featured as ‘startup of the day’ in The Daily Business Post.


PearUp is developing a web booking system for health and sports centres, which allows people to book and pay for courts and personal training sessions on their phones. The company was set up by three Trinity College graduates: Alex Mann, Dermot Markey and Tiernan Kennedy, just after they finished their final exams. They are currently developing their business in America.

Glass Robot Studios

Glass Robot Studios is a software development company that develops social mobile games. The company was founded by four computer science students at Dublin Institute of Technology, a few days after they completed their final university exams. They recently gained funding and office space from Telefónica’s Wayra accelerator.


Boomeround has created a tagging system for lost items, using QR code technology.  The co-founders of the company are Peter Graham, a recent UCD graduate, and Mathew Nelson, a student at Queen’s University in Belfast. Recently, they secured investment and permission to distribute their products to students on some university campuses.

These successful graduate start-ups show that there is a need for new businesses in the UK and in the ROI. If you think your business idea has the potential to succeed, find out about the resources that are available to help you get your business started.

If I could start again, I would set up more businesses during recessions… Such a climate is perfect for young, enthusiastic and nimble companies to set up and thrive. This is one of those times”— Sir Richard Branson, writing for the Telegraph.

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