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Updated: March 6, 2023 Editorial

Editorial: Growing opportunities in a growing region

From 2010 to 2020, the population of Central Massachusetts grew 8.1%, outpacing both the state and national averages, while closing in on nearly 1.3 million people throughout Worcester County and the MetroWest region. The city of Worcester was the fastest-growing major city in New England over that stretch, adding more than 25,000 residents. While all that change has caused some headaches, like a lack of affordable housing, it has created plenty of opportunities.

Coming out of that first down year of the coronavirus pandemic, we’ve started to see a new trend in the region: more new business startups. In 2021, more than 2,700 new businesses started in Central Massachusetts, a rise of nearly 15% from the previous year, according to a WBJ analysis of incorporation filings with the Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth. That spike in 2021 came after two consecutive years of decreases in the number of new business starts. The 2021 rise in the region mirrored, but also outpaced, both statewide and national trends of new companies being created.

While last year the number of new business startups fell 3% in Massachusetts and 6% in the nation, Central Massachusetts bucked that trend, showing an increase in new companies in 2022. Nearly 2,800 Central Massachusetts organizations got their start last year, a 1.5% increase from 2021. The increase reflects the fact our region has growing economic opportunities, and local entrepreneurs are seizing on them.

Not every new business is going to succeed, nor is every market opportunity going to pan out. But a startup relies on hustle, innovation, and sweat equity, and the release of that positive energy contributes to a thriving business community. New competition can disrupt a market, and constant change is more the rule than the exception. In the real estate arena, apartments remain hot while single-family home sales have cooled; warehouse and life sciences operations are expanding; and office space has a harder time getting filled. It’s the natural cycle of the economy. But with the Central Massachusetts population growing at a faster rate than the state and the nation, and the pace of new business startups exceeding the state and the nation, clearly the region has a lot of economic opportunity.

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