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Entrepreneurs and COVID-19 - Solving Problems of Today For A Better Tomorrow

Drexel 3 Year Degree

July 31, 2020

Entrepreneurship In A Crisis: Solving Today’s Problems For A Better Tomorrow

A pandemic like COVID-19 has adverse effects on the economy and development of businesses. However, innovators and entrepreneurs who think outside the box can help develop the technologies and solutions that will have a lasting and positive impact in the post-pandemic climate. This pandemic has helped rapidly advance industries across the board and has sped up technological innovation across the world. In times of uncertainty, innovation helps us overcome many of the current challenges we face - and there is no one more capable in rising to the challenge than our future entrepreneurs. 

Social entrepreneurs can shed light on community needs in times of crisis as they work to affect a positive change. Whether it is a social entrepreneur providing relief aid for their community, companies using entrepreneurial thinking to pivot their business and help in times of need, or the next budding tech entrepreneurs creating simple solutions to a major societal problem, entrepreneurs can make a real impact in deterring the long-lasting economic effects experienced during a pandemic.

Social Entrepreneurship During COVID-19

From a global effort to a grassroots movement, social entrepreneurs can make a huge impact on progress. Social entrepreneurs look to make a change in cultural, environmental, and societal issues. No matter how small or large the company.

Local Philadelphia social entrepreneur, Evan Ehlers, is a prime example with his exemplary work during COVID-19. Ehlers, an alumnus of the Charles D. Close School of Entrepreneurship and the Founder and Executive Director of Sharing Excess, has led the efforts to rescue and distribute nearly 30,000 pounds of food in just 14 days that would have otherwise been thrown out as restaurants were forced to close their doors. Whether a social entrepreneur is helping to stop a community from going hungry, raising money to donate to those in need, or simply helping others - being kind in times of uncertainty goes a long way. 

Additionally, social entrepreneurs make a difference in their communities not just through their actions, but through the modeling of a solution and inspiration of others. And, maybe, even sparking the next generation of entrepreneurs to join the cause. Through all of their effort, the main question stands: how will you make a difference?

Entrepreneurial Thinking In Times Of Crisis

COVID-19 gave businesses the opportunity to be more entrepreneurial and forced them to move past their comfort zones to become agile problem solvers. As stores began to sell out of basic protective equipment and hospitals had to begin worrying about reusing medical gear, entrepreneurial solutions came to the rescue. Hundreds of companies, who had no prior experience producing medical supplies/equipment, began to pivot and grow their business offering while helping others through the manufacturing and distribution of vital resources in the fight against the pandemic. 

Faber Distilling Co. of Quakertown, Pennsylvania is one of such companies. Faber shifted from producing alcoholic beverages to manufacturing hand sanitizer. While many distilleries across the country joined this movement, Faber not only scaled up their production to create sanitizer for consumers, first responders, and medical professionals but also made the decision to donate portions of their sales to the medical community. Other examples of industries pivoting over the past few months include car manufacturers producing ventilators, timber companies producing personal protective equipment, and companies such as Emergency Information Systems (A Baiada Resident company) that went from creating reflective signs for campus emergencies to creating safety gear and social distancing guides for the public. 

By embracing an entrepreneurial mindset and acting with agility, businesses have seen an increase in revenue, a boost in morale (knowing that their work is making a difference), and the know-how to not only keep their business moving but to help it grow in never before imagined ways! 

Technology: Five Years In Eight Weeks

Recent data from McKinsey & Company on global consumer sentiment during the coronavirus shows that we pushed five years forward in both consumer and business adoption in just a short eight weeks. 

Grocery stores are shifting to shopping online and deliveries, schools around the world are going 50-100% online, and artificial intelligence is helping doctors in the ICU to increase accurate times a patient needs a ventilator while virtual reality has moved from majorly being used for entertainment by companies to become a critical device for technical training. These are just a few of the numerous industries that have been propelled forward by the global crisis and the entrepreneurial minds of innovators. With COVID-19 still spreading across the world, and countries like the United States expected to have a second wave of cases, the need for talented thinkers and creative problem solvers has become imminent. Such skills are no longer just coveted by companies for their improvement but are now relied upon for survival. 

Overall innovation leads to new jobs and the world will need people to help create those jobs. Entrepreneurs will be on the economic front lines to find emerging opportunities and create new processes and progress in our economy. Drexel’s 3 Year Degree* will develop highly capable and entrepreneurial-minded college grads that will be at the forefront of this change. 

*The 3-year degree in entrepreneurship and innovation is an unparalleled, accelerated program teaching students how to think like an entrepreneur in their daily lives as well as their career. With courses aimed at giving students the ability to excel within companies, startups, and starting their own ventures there’s no better place to learn from experienced entrepreneurs than the Charles D. Close School of Entrepreneurship.