每日英語跟讀 Ep.882: Is a Pandemic the Right Time to Start a Business? It Just Might Be 危機即轉機 疫情催生創業潮

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每日英語跟讀 Ep.882: Is a Pandemic the Right Time to Start a Business?

In March, as small businesses across the country were shutting down amid the spreading coronavirus pandemic, Shanel Fields was about to open one up.


For Fields, the timing couldn't have been better. Her company, MD Ally, allows 911 dispatchers and other responders to route nonemergency calls and patients to virtual doctors, to help local governments improve their emergency response systems.

對費爾茲來說,時機可再好不過了。她的公司名叫MD Ally,能協助911緊急求救電話的調度員和其他救難人員,將非緊急電話和病人轉給虛擬醫生,從而幫助地方政府改善他們的緊急救難反應系統。

She's not alone: New businesses are forming despite the pandemic.


Past downturns produced some high-profile U.S. companies: Airbnb, Disney, General Motors, Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft, Slack, Uber and Venmo, to name a few.


“Downturns or challenging times are seen as good times to start a business for two reasons,” said Rashmi Menon, entrepreneur in residence at the University of Michigan's Zell Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies. “One is, there is less competition for resources. The second reason is that whatever changes we face, positive or negative, bring up new customer needs. And customer needs are at the core of any business.”


For Fields, opening now meant greater access to top talent. She hired her fourth employee and said more than 200 qualified applicants had submitted resumes. And being in the health care sector during a pandemic has raised her profile with funders and governments: MD Ally, which is based in Philadelphia, recently signed its first customer and closed its first round of investment worth $1 million.

對費爾茲而言,現在創業意味著更容易接觸到頂尖人才。她雇用了第四位員工,並表示有200多名符合資格的申請者提交履歷。在疫病大流行期間投入醫療領域,提高了她在投資金主與政府眼中的分量。總部位於費城的MD Ally最近簽下了第一個客戶,並已完成第一輪價值100萬美元的募資。

For others, the timing can mean low interest rates for borrowing startup capital, cheaper equipment as businesses sell off inventory or lower lease rates as landlords scramble to fill empty spaces.


“There are going to be industries that are winners, and others that are going to be losers,” said David Brown, who co-founded the startup accelerator Techstars during the 2008 recession. “I probably wouldn’t want to be in a business right now that caters to business travelers, but I’d love to be in a business that helps enable telemedicine.”


Determining what customers need now, rather than before the pandemic, is crucial. Menon and Brown see opportunity in offering solutions to the challenges that people now face: educating their children, working from home, managing supply chains, getting a haircut or the house cleaned, seeing doctors and therapists, entertaining themselves. Even new restaurants might be successful if they consider the future of customer service rather than recreate old systems.


“If you can find innovative ways for people to feed themselves right now, that might make sense,” Menon said. “You just have to address a need.”


Source article: https://paper.udn.com/udnpaper/POH0067/354160/web/



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