Only two-thirds of all new small businesses make it through their first two years. A study of Amish small businesses found that 95 percent were successful. This was one fact in a fascinating story about Amish small businesses written by Glenn Rifkin in the New York Times. The number of Amish in the U.S. has doubled in the last 16 years, to 230,000, mostly in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Indiana. And the Amish have expanded beyond farming, opening very successful small businesses in rural communities.

With farmland increasingly expensive and rare, members of the religious sect are expanding into business. Doug Winbigler isn’t Amish but he sells furniture produced by 75 Amish craftsmen scattered about northern Ohio. (Picture above.) Other businesses produce granola or pasta.

The move from farming to small business is a “mini-industrial revolution” among the Amish, according to one professor. More than half of Amish households now earn their primary income from small business rather than farming. It’s fascinating. Amish workers use the latest computers at work, wired together with Bluetooth headsets, then ride horse and buggy back home. Anybody want a model for rural development? Here’s one.

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