It's funny, but when you look at the trends, some of the most successful companies all started in a recession.
General Electric was started by Thomas Edison in 1890, at the time when the global economy was in a recession due to England's panic of 1890. In 1893, the company faced yet another famous panic of 1893. Yet it survived to be one of the original 12 companies that formed the Dow Jones index in 1896.
IBM was started in 1896 at the time of a prolonged economic recession in the world.
General Motors was founded in 1908 at the time when U.S. financial system was trying to pick itself up from the aftermath of a financial crisis known as the Panic of 1907.
Disney was started in 1923. It wasn't until 1929, the time of the famous 1929 Wall Street Crash, when the company reincorporated under the name Walt Disney Productions, it found its identify. The turning point was the introduction of Mickey Mouse, which helped grow the company to new heights.
Burger King was founded in 1953 during a recession period as the U.S. adjusted to end the Korean War and control inflation. The founders of Burger King used something called a "insta-broiler" to cook meat faster and more cheaply than on a pan or grill.
Microsoft was founded in 1975 during a recession at a time when the U.S. had a combination of rising unemployment, inflation, stagnant GDP, and huge spikes in gas prices resulting from stricter OPEC's decisions. Isn't this a perfect time to start a new industry of selling software for the personal home computer market?
The Apple we know today largely came to age in 2001 at the time of the famous burst of dot-com bubble which left a bad taste in the mouths of most people when it came to anything involving technology. This wasn't a barrier for Steve Jobs to assemble a team of engineers, designers, and marketers to prototype a new personal music player.
Recession forces you to create a market rather than responding to the market. Robert Kiyosaki, author of Rich Dad, Poor Dad has a great quote about this:
Those who do take the plunge and start their own business at economic flat points tend to have more control as they don't respond to the market, they actually create a new one.