PROTECTING SMALL BUSINESS, PROMOTING ENTREPRENEURSHIP

Entrepreneurship and the Post-Pandemic Transformation

By at 10 June, 2020, 3:16 pm

 

by Raymond J. Keating-

For those who were reluctant to utilize digital tools prior to the coronavirus pandemic, that’s no longer an option for most entrepreneurs. And when this crisis passes, entrepreneurs will continue to embrace change, innovation, and build upon a digital transformation.

Those notes were struck in some recent articles that warrant reading for current and future entrepreneurs across sectors.

For example, over at the World Economic Forum’s site, a piece titled “How digital entrepreneurs will help shape the world after the COVID-19 pandemic,” written by Brian Wong, vice president for global initiatives at the Alibaba Group, provides some insights (along with some obvious points) for entrepreneurs across industries and around the globe:

Agricultural Transformation Via Entrepreneurial Opportunities. “When stores in China were forced to close, merchants from a wide range of industries turned to Taobao Live in a bid to reach their consumers online, thus maintaining sales. Meanwhile, farmers from China’s rural areas embraced it to sell their produce.”

This point on farmers grabbing customers directly online is intriguing, and another example was noted later: “Josha Aragon and Steve Sy in the Philippines helped deliver fresh produce from farm to home via Zagana, an e-commerce platform inspired by the Taobao Village model witnessed on the eFounders Fellowship Programme, a joint UNCTAD-Alibaba Group project helping entrepreneurs in developing countries become catalysts for the digital transformation in their home nations.”

New Organizational Structures. “Moreover, the increased adoption of remote work as a result of COVID-19 also opens new opportunities for entrepreneurs to rethink their organizational structures as their access to talent will be expanded beyond physical borders. SMEs are the backbone of any society for job creation and economic contribution. They are the pathfinders during the journey to economic recovery. Those among them who can pivot their venture and team to adopt digital technologies and enable their customers, partners and the local community will have the best opportunity to survive and thrive in the long term.”

Writing at Entrepreneur.com, Danny Beckett Jr., founder and CEO of Assemble, hit on “5 Ways Entrepreneurs Can Rebound After a Crisis.” A couple of points to note here:

Accessing Expertise. “Since COVID-19 has proven the benefits of remote work, it will naturally accelerate our evolution toward a knowledge and skills-based economy. In this model, entrepreneurs can access more outside expertise more quickly than ever before, and even on-demand… many startups don’t need many (if any) butts in seats, and some companies might never get up off the ground without remote, distributed work teams. Post-pandemic, it won’t matter if you have all the necessary expertise on staff, as long as you have quick access to that expertise.”

Sources of New Ideas. “Many who have been furloughed or shifted to remote work are spending more time with their families. And though many of us have been conditioned to view our personal lives as separate or even detracting from our professional success, true entrepreneurs know that some of our best creative ideas stem from our essential, everyday experiences.”

Finally, there is some reason to hope that this crisis will point more people toward entrepreneurship. A recent ABC News report from Tampa, Florida, noted stepped up local interest in entrepreneurship:

A Time for Entrepreneurship. “Rebecca White, with the University of Tampa’s Lowth Entrepreneurship Center, says despite many people losing their jobs and businesses forced to close temporarily or permanently, there is a silver lining. ‘This is an amazing time for entrepreneurs,’ she said. The University of Tampa and University of South Florida are both seeing a spike in people interested in launching startup companies with new products or services.”

Entrepreneurs Lead Us Out of Crises. Nicolle Panuthos, from St. Petersburg College’s school of business, added, “The innovative nature and creative nature of entrepreneurs is a lot of times what gets us out of a crisis.”

Indeed, as noted by Wong, “challenges can be turned into opportunities so long as there is optimism, determination, and a common purpose.”

That is what entrepreneurs do – solving problems and creating new products via innovation, determination, hard work, and optimism.

Raymond J. Keating is chief economist for the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council.

 

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