COVID-19 and its accompanying economic downturn posed a crisis of confidence for America’s economy and the state of affairs worldwide. While the health and safety of everyone is of paramount importance, now that it’s been over three months and counting of a nationwide shutdown and social distancing guidelines, many Americans are itching to re-open the doors to their businesses and get back to work. As devastating as the economic impacts have been so far, they’re poised to get worse, placing Americans between a rock and a hard place as we consider the big question on how – and when – to reopen the economy.
The economy is currently heading towards a state worse than the Recession, and that it will be “comparable to the Great Depression in depth,” noted Jesse Rothstein, director of Berkeley’s Institute for Research on Labor and Employment. With forecasts like these, it’s no wonder that confidence is at an all-time low… but fortunately, entrepreneurs are showing the best of what America is made of by stepping up to the plate in this time of need and uncertainty. They’re returning confidence through their innovations, their forward-thinking progress, and how they’re giving back to those who need it most.
1. They’re Working Together To Come Up With Solutions
Some of the world’s brightest minds are working alongside medical coalitions to ensure that everything that can be done is being done. In addition to the wait for a vaccination — which, according to the Milken Institute, is being worked on at length through multiple test vaccines — there’s been a push for easier access to testing. Testing offers information — information that can determine who has COVID-19, who had it and now has the antibodies, and who is still at risk. This information may help revive the economy sooner rather than later.
Operation StaySafe is an industry coalition of leading American medical testing companies, healthcare professionals and entrepreneurs — currently 20 companies working together — who are bridging resources and working together to find real solutions for accessible and comprehensive testing. “We cover every area of the value chain in medical testing and with an innovative organizational structure that will grow our capacity, so that we have the flexibility and inclusiveness that we can deliver to any state, city or business.” says John Souza, CEO of Reliant BioMedical, a founding member of Operation StaySafe.
They’re creating rapid tests accessible at home, work, drive-ups, and labs, that are inclusive of nasal, finger pricks, saliva, and antibodies. Even better, the testing will offer tele-health access to board-certified physicians, and work as a data aggregation that can be reported to civic and business authorities.
2. They’re Using Already-Existing Technology To Help With Diagnostics
Some companies already have the products and the consumer access to help with the information aggregation through existing technology — specifically, medical tech companies. Ava, a Swiss medical bracelet company created to track and monitor women’s fertility, is partnering with the Liechtenstein government to track for COVID-19 symptoms using the bracelet’s technologies.
Oura Ring is another wearable tech device: a smart ring to track activity, sleep, and other markers of health such as heart rate and temperature. Oura Health is partnering with the University of California San Diego and the University of California San Francisco on a study to determine if they can track early signs and symptoms of the virus. This information may be used moving forward to indicate whether or not an individual needs a COVID-19 test, and if they should socially distance or stay at home while awaiting test results. This information can save lives and slow the spread as the economy re-opens.
3. They’re Offering Resources
The Tory Burch Foundation, a foundation that furthers female entrepreneurs’ professional development through offering resources and programming, has been compiling a list of available business resources for business owners in need. The list alone proves the magnitude of impact that organizations and large companies are giving back to small businesses and individuals who need it most.
And, some of the Tory Burch Foundation’s own entrepreneurs are giving back at this time, too. Ira Green, the founder of Freedom Deodorant, converted her manufacturing plant to add hand sanitizer to her production capacity after she continued to get calls from states asking for her to sell her bottles. And menstrual product social impact company Aunt Flow, founded by Claire Coder, converted their production capacity in China to produce about 100,000 masks per day, with no sign of slowing down.
Another company helping with mask supply is Rush Order Tees who sold over 100,000 in the first week alone to raise money for frontline workers. They’ve donated $25,000 dollars and will be donating even more to The Philly Pledge, a nonprofit organization fighting against COVID-19. “Since we have a huge customer base with an unlimited supply of masks, we realized we could sell and distribute the masks quickly while simultaneously raising funds for the cause. We’re really excited to partner with Christian Crosby and The Philly Pledge.” says Michael Nemeroff, CEO of Rush Order Tees.
It’s when times are hard that entrepreneurs show the best of what they’re made of. Changemakers and innovators around the world are restoring confidence as we rebuild in the aftermath of the devastating impact of COVID-19 through their technology, resources, and drive to innovate a better future despite the global uncertainties.