The global pandemic has changed the rules of the game. It has redefined how we live and work. And it has also forced businesses, big and small, to reevaluate priorities, reinvent themselves and sometimes even abandon all hope and close down after years of hard work. Today we talk about businesses making a difference for women in this new normal.
While the pandemic has taken its toll, it has also inspired many businesswomen to build resilience and find ways to adapt. Helping the economy, keeping their businesses afloat and proving once again that women not only belong in the workplace, but we are also instrumental in helping it get through the hardest times.
Women in a World on Crisis
Women are more likely to work or own businesses in some of the sectors that have been hit most during the pandemic: Hospitality, food services, retail, and so on. In fact, many burgeoning businesses have been forced to either close their doors permanently or take an indefinite break while they come up with a plan. Others have managed to survive by adapting to the times, changing their strategies, and making difficult decisions like laying people off (often people who have helped build the business) and reducing their paychecks and other expenses.
But while the odds are against many of them, we identified a few small businesses that have found ways to remain open. We hope they inspire you to continue making a difference for women in a world in crisis.
Adapting and Making a Difference for Women
The ability to blossom professionally in times of COVID is closely related to finding the right way to pivot your business plan. Here are some innovative women who figured it out.
1 Shayla Sheppard, founder and CEO of Bow & Arrow Brewing Co. in Albuquerque, found a way of going from depending primarily on the brewery’s beer hall to selling their products online. She looked at alternatives and ended up including a new canned beer option as well as brand merchandise.
2Crystal Evuleocha is another example of a business owner who was able to pivot her company services. Kliit, the digital health company she founded, provides sexual and reproductive health services and information to people who might be less inclined to go for a checkup. But as hospitals begin to use up all their resources fighting COVID-19, Evuleocha has been working on creating virtual consultations that will allow women to access life-saving information and treatments regardless of what kind of insurance they have.
3Chavonne Hodges, founder of GrillzandGranola has created Workout from Home sessions for the whole family at affordable prices as well as free therapy sessions when her company was forced to cancel all the health classes, sessions and events once restrictions were enforced in the States. The company offers therapy and coaching sessions that aim to give all underrepresented women of color an “inclusive and culturally-attuned fitness experience”. Aware of the importance of their role in the community, and of the difference they make for women.
4Irma Olguin Jr. is the cofounder of Bitwise Industries, a tech company committed to designing technology that can help people and their businesses grow. The company helps create a more promising future through programs dedicated to teaching people in marginalized communities to code (Geekwise) and employing some of their emerging coding talent to build custom software (Shift3 Technologies.) Olguin also helped create OnwardCa.org in hopes to match people who lost their job as a result of COVID-19 to those needing help. A country-wide version is now being created and can be found at OnwardUS.org.
Reimaging a Post-COVID World
In spite of its many challenges –and perhaps because of them, too– this could be the perfect time for companies to take a good look inside and start to make important changes in the right direction. Towards more inclusive and self-aware corporations that truly care about their communities and want to see them grow and prosper.
Women who are making a difference for their companies and their communities in this precarious economy are a glorious response to all the doubters who still exist out there. Hopefully, the way they have piloted their companies through stormy and unstable waters will serve as inspiration to women with big empire-building dreams. After all, they’re rock stars reimaging a better future.
Some think that it was only a matter of time before something like this came and shook up the way business is conducted around the world. That we’re at a point where global business stakeholders and our own communities need to evolve and embrace inclusivity, collaboration and sustainability – or go under. To change or be buried under those who have come to understand that it’s essential to grow, build partnerships and learn from those already practicing innovation.
Aline Cerdan Verástegui
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