Surprising rise in California entrepreneurs daring to start new businesses during pandemic

1 Feb 2021


The pandemic and stay-at-home orders have forced thousands of financially dried up California businesses to shut down, but for Dan Zhao, they became the reason to start a new one.

“Before the pandemic, I just had a regular job,” said Zhao, a product manager at a San Francisco-based software company. But when his father, Keguang, lost his job as a cook in a Los Angeles Chinese chain restaurant in March, Zhao started to worry about him, alone and on unemployment.

So, in October — amid rising coronavirus cases and a 9.3% unemployment rate — father and son opened their delivery-and-pick-up only restaurant in Oakland’s Fruitvale neighborhood. Now, Zhao’s got two jobs: product manager by day and owner of Cozy Wok, an Oakland-based vegetarian Chinese restaurant, by night and on weekends.

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