A new position paper released by the public think tank forum Montreal Economic Institute “lifts the veil on the efforts made by entrepreneurs to reinvent themselves, pick up the pace, and help us meet this challenge,” during the past year. Twelve months ago today, the World Health Organization declared a pandemic.
“The past year has been difficult for Canadians, but we have been able to count on resourceful entrepreneurs who were able to address several of our most urgent needs,” said Krystle Wittevrongel, public policy analyst at the MEI.
“If we think back to a year ago, we’ll remember how hard it was to find hand sanitizer. The demand for this product had become completely unsustainable after having increased by more than 300 Canadian companies took up the cause, and distilleries learned a new trick in order to supply us with these essential products.”
That same logic, MEI said in a release, applies to the case of medical protective equipment where companies such as Bauer “came to the rescue” during shortages of masks and face shields.
Entrepreneurs, said economist Miguel Oullette, its director of operations, “were engaged in a real war effort, not only to survive and keep their employees working, but also to help essential workers feel protected.
“The year 2020 would have been even more difficult if entrepreneurs hadn’t rolled up their sleeves in order to facilitate the sale of goods online, allow us to order food from our favourite restaurants from the comfort of our living rooms, or help us work from home while staying connected with our colleagues and clients. They are, in my opinion, the most unsung heroes of the pandemic.”
For over a year now, MEI said, the “spotlight has been on governments and the actions they have taken in the context of the pandemic, sometimes obscuring the great contribution of entrepreneurs in maintaining a certain quality of life for Canadians in these difficult times.
“The pandemic has been hard on everyone, but as the above examples show, many businesses have pivoted quickly to adapt to the uncertain landscape, often helping to address critical resource voids while strengthening the ability of community actors to deal with adversity and keeping their employees working, or even hiring new ones.
“In times of crisis, bureaucratic barriers are often lowered to give free rein to innovation. This will help entrepreneurs show the agility and the ingenuity that will be essential to the success of the post-pandemic economic recovery.”
The position paper can be accessed via this link.