Pandemic side-effect, self-employment on the rise

People are choosing to take risks in the midst of COVID-19.
According to data from the Census Bureau, 4.3 million Americans filed paperwork to start a business in 2020.
Published: Sep. 20, 2022 at 6:59 PM CDT
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LAUREL, Miss. (WDAM) - The COVID-19 pandemic impacted every industry, from large corporations to small businesses.

“I realized during Covid that you’re gambling every day,” said Myron Lott, owner of The Mint Julep Patio, a performance and event venue in Hattiesburg that celebrated its first anniversary just last week. “It kind of made things front and center as far as what’s important. Going to work was a gamble at that point in my mind. It was ‘Do I go to work? I have to take care of my family. What if I get sick?’”

Questions many Americans asked during a time of uncertainty.

The CEO of Linked Up Empowerment Center, Tony Reimoneng, Jr., said his goal is to help close the wealth gap through financial literacy, affordable home ownership and entrepreneurship.

“I call Hattiesburg the city of side hustlers because, during the pandemic, a lot of people were forced to do something different,” said Reimoneng. “Our economy is different. We have the hospitals here. We have the universities here, which are major employers. Also, we have the Army base that’s here.”

Reimonenq also said that Hattiesburg is a melting pot of cultures and an accessible central location. These features, he said, set the Hub City apart, invite new businesses and create an environment for growth.

Planning and taking risks are part of the process, said Roshondra Lott, The Mint’s co-owner and a former school teacher.

“It’s hard work every day,” said Lott. “We wake up, huddle up. We pray. We talk about what we have to do today; it’s like a huddle-up meeting. Go, do, then we come back together around 5:30 or 6:00 to get ready to open up.”

According to data from the Census Bureau, 4.3 million Americans filed paperwork to start a business in 2020.

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