Janie Wang and Christopher Anderson were married and living in New York when they decided to leave the big city and turn their side passion into a full-time pursuit.
At the time, Wang and Anderson were working in a charter school and software development, respectively, and spent their free evenings experimenting with new cooking techniques and connecting with other home chefs on their Modernist Pantry website.
Eight years later, the couple have made the platform into a small business based in New England. They employ a staff of 15 people and provide state-of-the-art cooking equipment and ingredients to professional chefs in the U.S. and around the globe.
Earlier this year, they were given Maine’s 2019 Small Business Administration’s Person of the Year award for their success.
We’re keeping the #SmallBusinessWeek momentum going with congratulations to @ModernistPantry, our Small Businessperson of the Year, for the recognition in DC yesterday. Don’t miss your chance to see all our #SmallBusinessAward🏆 winners next week https://t.co/StzHQmrXCA pic.twitter.com/068foEQPCz
— SBA Maine (@SBA_Maine) May 7, 2019
The couple is among millions of Americans who decide to strike out on their own. In an average month in the United States, 320 out of every 100,000 adults become new entrepreneurs, according to the Kauffman Foundation‘s 2018 National Report on Early-Stage Entrepreneurship. And that number continues to rise, with a 4-percentage-point increase since 2013.
“Failure is part of the process,” Anderson said. “When it happens, pick yourself up and learn some lessons.”
New Latino entrepreneurship has also steadily risen since 1996, the Kauffman report shows, from 0.32% in 1996 to 0.51% in 2018. Carol Espinosa is one example. She is the founder of Freedom Interiors in Kansas City, Missouri, and was named the 2019 SBA’s Person of the Year for the state.
“The wonderful thing about the U.S. is the number of resources for entrepreneurs and startups,” she said. “There are lots of people and organizations ready to provide you with coaching and mentorship.”