Are you one of those innovative and creative companies with a great ability to get the most out of limited resources? Then, you must be a startup, and, like many others in your field, you are probably well-armed with technological knowledge, you care about society and without a doubt, you are ready to adapt to changes very quickly! In other words, the world needs you now more than ever.
It’s true, we can’t neglect the fact that the Coronavirus hasn’t spared the startup communities. Just the opposite, many startup founders are fretting about the consequences of sweeping lockdowns and restrictions and are hardly managing to stay afloat and keep their staff onboard. But, for those of you who can afford it, if you haven’t already, it’s high time you joined your peers in helping the governments to combat the unprecedented conditions which can easily lead to a damaging recession. On the other hand, if you are one of those early-stage startups struggling to make the ends meet or the pandemic crisis has hit you hard, there is still room for giving back to society as various funds are being offered for startups to work on solutions as a response to the emergency situation.
Don’t forget that many of these ideas could also help with lead generation and getting people to know about your company and your expertise, so the effort you invest in these good deeds will likely circle round and help you, too.
So, if you are interested in taking the plunge and helping not only your employees, clients, and collaborators but the world on the whole, here are 8 ideas on how to give back.
- Offer free products and services
Even though it came quickly and unexpectedly, the crisis has already had a major impact on public health and the economy. From 3D printing valves for the need of the hospitals and free services to support the impacted people to various learning courses and platforms to facilitate the remote working, startups have been wholeheartedly offering free or substantially discounted services and products to help. If your brand offers anything that can support either people hugely affected by the pandemic or those who are staying at home in a need of a boost to keep up with their lives, this is the right time to give a hand.
- Work on innovative tech solutions to fight the Coronavirus
If you have an idea for developing a tool that could in any way be of help in the fight of the COVID-19 virus, then start working on it as soon as possible. While many companies are using their own resources in the aim to assist the institutions, funding has been offered by the governments and numerous other organisations and institutions including the European Commission funding. Just act quickly and remember that even a simple app that would encourage the citizens to adapt more easily to the changed conditions can mean the world to somebody, not to mention the role that the healthtech startups play amid these predicaments.
- Connect with the startup community in your country
Many European tech and startup communities have been serving as role models to the world for decades. Now is the time to strengthen the ties more than ever and collectively undertake initiatives in support of crisis management. Just take Estonia, for example, whose tech community has already been tackling the coronavirus through various activities. Portugal has also put together a page for collaboration. There are many ways to help in the quick and smart development and implementation of the necessary measures. So, get as involved as you can and encourage others in your community to do so as well.
- Organise or attend hackathons (even if remote!)
The way has been paved and many innovative solutions that arose as a result of the to-date organised hackathons aimed against the Coronavirus are now on their way to be developed and implemented. Are there any hackathons running in your country? If so, just embark on the challenge and attend. If not, you can be the first to initiate or even organise one. For example, can you innovate some way to mobilise people in your local community to volunteer and support the elderly? Many revolutionary products emerged exactly at these events and we now desperately need more of them to combat not only the emergency circumstances but effectively manage the post-crisis period and prevent further isolation and loneliness.
- Host free online webinars, podcasts or Q&A sessions
In light of the latest developments, many event organisers are shifting their conferences online. It’s uncertain until when we’ll all be at home. So, just jump on the bandwagon and go live – whether it’s alone, with your team or maybe with professionals from other startups. Online event, webinar, podcast, YouTube video, Q&A, do whatever you want, but make sure to give advice based on your expertise and help people to stay motivated.
- Mentor earlier stage teams in acceleration or growth programmes
Fortunately, there is a growing number of free programmes whose main goal is to map out routes to alleviate systemic damage. Startup founders may play a crucial role in the quick response to such challenges, and allow you to support those earlier stage and more fragile startups weathering the storm. All you need to do is to search the internet for a programme that would welcome mentorship in your field of expertise.
- Offer your advice on remote working
As a member of a startup, you are probably very well acquainted with the ‘working from home’ concept. But, bear in mind that millions of people have just had their first day working remotely. The newly-created situation has given thousands of managers no other choice but to lead their teams online, completely unprepared. To lend a helping hand, you can either cover some tips in a blog, LinkedIn post, webinar, or, even better, encourage people to get in touch.
- Offer consultations to SMEs on digitalisation and automation
If millions of people have just had their first day working from home, imagine how many SMEs until two weeks ago had no intention of digital transformation. Not being able to go out has brought up the need for many processes to be automated, resulting in many SMEs seeking new methods and business models. From helping out with setting up online shops, to running marketing campaigns, to AI-driven automation, to IoT data collection, to giving advice on the required IT tools, your input can make a huge difference.
The choice is yours. But, remember, this is the moment we all have to step up and create a real social impact. If nothing else, just offer help and advice where you can. Setting a positive example will encourage other startups to take action too, and, by working together we will more quickly adapt to our uncertain future.