With the ongoing uncertainty brought about by the coronavirus pandemic, you might be forgiven for thinking that now is a difficult time for SME businesses. And while there’s no doubt that many are struggling, an unexpected trend has also emerged during these difficult times.

Against all the odds, it seems that the entrepreneurial spirit is on the rise, and that more, rather than fewer, people are embarking on new ventures and establishing new businesses. So what is it that is inspiring independent vendors to put their money where their mouth is in 2021?

Part of the explanation, experts believe, is that the endless run of lockdowns and restrictions has plunged many people into the uncertainty that they could never have anticipated. Before the pandemic, those working in any number of sectors, from hospitality to entertainment, would probably have considered their jobs to be relatively secure. But now, all bets are off. And with hundreds of thousands of people suddenly facing an unsure future, schemes that once seemed unrealistic or overly ambitious are now being seriously considered.

Another factor, perhaps, is that there has never been a more appealing time to be your own boss. As many employees deal with confusion and stress over furlough schemes and redundancies, the self-employed – at least on the surface – have been more able to take control of their own finances. So, as we move away from the pandemic and hopefully towards a brighter future, it makes sense that more people are keen to get into the driving set of their own careers.

Of course, there’s also the undeniable fact that many industries have gone through some drastic changes. And while this has unfortunately meant job losses in some areas, it has also opened up whole new realms of opportunity. For example, industries such as takeaway food, digital marketing, online shopping and on-demand entertainment have seen unprecedented growth over the last 12 months. And so, many have been tempted to leave old, struggling workplaces behind and branch out into something new.

With all this in mind, it’s perhaps no surprise that independent businesses are growing in new and unexpected ways. And while it remains to be seen which ones will convert their optimism into real-world success, it’s undoubtedly an exciting time.