Restrictions are said to be an essential part of getting the creative juices flowing, and we have certainly experienced plenty of limitations during the coronavirus pandemic.
Small businesses have had to pivot and try out new ways of trading just to survive. We've seen cafes and restaurants switch to preparing frozen and takeaway meals for customers in lockdown at home. And when the pubs closed and demand for beer collapsed, One Drop Brewing along with other craft breweries and award-winning distilleries started producing hand sanitiser instead.
What could businesses who traditionally relied on face-to-face sales do when COVID-19 hit? Some, like Cheese Therapy, used their online platforms to sell their products and managed not only to survive but actually thrive in these tough times. Tungsten Wine Club implemented a fully remote and augmented delivery platform to ensure their premium wines found their way to niche customers.
We have also seen innovative individuals seize on opportunities to meet the sudden demand for "new necessities". Since COVID-19, dance and yoga classes have gone online along with virtual reality fashion shows, curated shopping and Zoom parties.
The Law Institute of Victoria is one of many organisations forced to cancel their face-to-face events, only to find their reinvented online formats became a valuable record of attendee engagement.
Other innovations born out the crisis include the rise of online learning and services. Universities have seen an acceleration in their delivery of online education. And how about utilising their 3D printing facilities to produce PPE products such as face shields and masks? All this shows great resilience in the face of adversity.
Startups and businesses that are resilient, with the capacity to respond, adapt and transform will survive and thrive these uncertain times. Australians too have shown an extraordinary ability to bounce back from crises - just think of the recent bushfires, floods, and consider how proactive and communal we are by nature.
The experts view entrepreneurship as the unsung hero during COVID-19. Entrepreneurship may just be that silver lining, but it's not for everybody - less than 10 per cent of the global working population are entrepreneurs. And yes, it is a mindset; a way of doing business, and most definitely a way of life. But evidence of Australian resilience puts us up there as a prominent global entrepreneurial nation.
- Professor Alex Maritz is Professor of Entrepreneurship at La Trobe University