The real failure rate of new companies? About 7% after year one, says University of Minnesota sociologist Paul Reynolds.

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Sayonara to U.S. Memories, last year's would-be mega-start-up. Out to produce their own memory chips, seven big U.S. computer makers tried raising $1 billion for working capital and a factory. By January, with less than $150 million in commitments, they had called it quits. For now at least, Japanese firms will continue to supply more than 80% of the world DRAM market.

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Why She Started the Business
Career control 19%

Opportunity knocked 17

Economic necessity 14

Personal/family crisis 12

Job dissatisfaction 10

Make more 9

Source: "The Avon Report," a survey of 450 businesswomen.

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Of 29,397 applications approved by banks for SBA-guaranteed loans last year, 29% were screened out or withdrawn, 10% declined, 59% approved, and 2% stuck in processing. Average loan: $218,000.

-- Leslie Brokaw