I don’t want to sound overly optimistic about the future. I know that many people are hurting, especially those who’ve lost someone or been financially affected. The economic damage from COVID-19 is profound, and recovery will require more than medical breakthroughs. Currently, in the U.S., millions are out of work, more than half of the business closures are likely to be permanent, and we may be experiencing the worst recession since the Great Depression.
But I am 100 percent confident that when we look back a few years from now, we will find that hundreds of thousands of entrepreneurs will have built successful businesses during these tough times and contributed to our economic recovery.
We know that great companies like Airbnb, Uber, and Square were built during the Great Recession of 2008–09. I know that great startups are being built now. I have seen them over the past 12 months when attending demo days, occasions where entrepreneurs pitch a new company, and I have seen them being launched among LMU students and alumni.
Moreover, there are tremendous changes occurring due to COVID. More than half of the businesses say that they will continue to offer remote work options in the long-term. Consumers have become used to the digital lifestyle. These drastic shifts over such a short time period have brought immense opportunities for new products and services.
COVID-19 is a deadly virus, but it has not sickened the entrepreneurial spirit. Being adaptable and resilient is the essence of entrepreneurship. I believe that entrepreneurial spirit will serve as the vaccine to revitalize our economies in the U.S. and elsewhere. While the medical vaccine will keep us healthy, entrepreneurial spirit and startups will put us back on a path to economic growth.
The economic recovery will not be a smooth ride. We will need heroic efforts from many of our leaders from all sectors of our society. But when it comes to entrepreneurs, I know that they are ready to go — as they have always been.
David Choi is professor of management in the LMU College of Business Administration and the director of the Fred Kiesner Center for Entrepreneurship. He teaches undergraduate and MBA courses in entrepreneurship, entrepreneurial finance, social entrepreneurship and technology management.
Tell Us Your Story
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced us to adapt and change many of the ways we do our work in almost every sector of society. Are there pandemic-related changes in your field of work or expertise that will last beyond the crisis?
Tell us in 250 words about the most important change, for better or for worse, that you see being long-lasting in your world of work. Email your reflection to firstname.lastname@example.org, along with your name, email address, your relationship to the university, and your profession or area of expertise/work and we’ll post some to the LMU Magazine website on the Afterlife page in the coming weeks.—The Editor.