Note: Each year, we examine our business plan projects in order to gain a better understanding of the startup economy. It provides critical insights for both our team and prospective entrepreneurs, which is why we compile the data into a report and make it available on for free our website.
Amid the continuing Covid-19 pandemic, 2021 was a stellar year for startups, providing a much-needed reprieve following a slow 2020. Nationally, the entrepreneurial spirit was greater than ever with new business registrations reaching a record 5.4 million, a 23% increase over 2020.
This was reflected in the number of Masterplans projects completed last year, which increased by 20% over the total number of projects completed in 2020.
One way to assess the startup ecosystem's potency is to examine business funding. In 2021, the SBA's flagship lending program, the 7(a) loan, totaled $36.5 billion in approved loans, up from $23 billion in 2020. Meanwhile, venture capital investment increased to nearly $330 billion, with angel and seed investment skyrocketing 70% year over year.
Eighty percent of Masterplans clients sought funding through their business plans, with more than two-thirds of those seeking bank lending. In addition, our business plans were also used for strategic planning, not-for-profit organizations, and cannabis licenses.
The cannabis industry reclaimed a ranking near the top of our industries, following a decline in 2020. Restaurants, healthcare, and retail & consumer goods were also among the top industries for business plans in 2021.
In 2021, women-owned businesses accounted for 24% of our projects, a slight decrease from 2020. Minority-owned businesses increased slightly compared to 2020, accounting for 41% of our total projects. Veteran-owned businesses declined from 23% to 9%.
Clients from 42 states, the District of Columbia, and two Canadian provinces comprised our 2021 clientele. California, Florida, Texas, and New York were the four most populous states in our sample. When total plans produced were adjusted for population, Delaware, Hawaii, Colorado, Illinois, and Massachusetts ranked as the top five most entrepreneurial states. Additionally, if Washington, D.C. were a state, it would have come in first place on this list.