Even in developed countries where entrepreneurs have access to capital, loans and a wide pool of paying customers, startups are risky ventures. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, about half of all new establishments in America close within five years, and two-thirds are gone within a decade. The failure rate of Cuban entrepreneurs followed by the Associated Press was 44 per cent in less than two years, and worse if one considers only those that relied primarily on Cuban customers.
The AP recently checked in with nine small business owners whose fortunes it first reported on in 2011 as they set up shop amid the excitement of President Raul Castroís surprising embrace of some free enterprise. Their fates tell a story of divided fortunes.