During the pandemic, entrepreneurs opened their own businesses at more than twice the rate seen in pre-pandemic times, thanks to government support programs and improved remote technology that weren’t available during other economic downturns such as the Great Recession.

Andre Smith, a 26-year-old who lives on New York’s Long Island, found himself without a steady source of income at the start of the pandemic last year after the construction company he worked for “ran dry” from March until June. With a lot of time on his hands and the need to make money again, he was able to do something he’s been aspiring to do since he and his family immigrated from Jamaica in 2007: start his own business.

“I said to myself, ‘This is the perfect time to learn something and use this time wisely,’” he told NBC News.

After five months of conducting online research and reading notes he took over the years on his iPhone, Smith decided to…

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