Entrepreneurs Who Have Become Heroes During COVID-19

Like any good Hollywood script, with the arrival of a crisis comes the need for a hero. In the COVID-19 crisis our own heroes have emerged, but unlike in many Hollywood blockbusters, these heroes are not typically self-made billionaires who use their wealth to fight crime in a black cape and bat mask or an indestructible metal suit.

No, these heroes are our neighbors and friends. They are business owners and entrepreneurs who have never taken “no” for an answer, whether it be a bump in the road to their own success or red tape put in their way by onerous government regulation. Now, amidst stay-at-home directives and public quarantines, they are defying orders, getting creative, and bringing hope to their communities.

We may overlook them when times are good, but salon workers, hair stylists, and personal trainers have become more than just ordinary workers, as they make in-home calls to serve their customers. They have become friends, psychologists, and pastors. Driven to these new black markets by necessity, these everyday entrepreneurs are bringing hope to their lonely clients stuck at home, a sympathetic ear, and order to those struggling in their new stay-at-home routines. Others are getting creative by leveraging technology to connect with their regulars who are taking every precaution, but are still in need of community and a sense of togetherness.

As people lose their jobs, their communities, and their sense of hope overnight, the actions of these entrepreneurs are nothing short of heroic.

Businesses everywhere have shifted their operations to assist in producing essential supplies to combat the coronavirus. Overshadowed by industry giants and household names like My Pillow and Ford who are shifting production to facemasks and ventilators, small business are also joining the fight. Silverback Distillery, located in rural Virginia, has changed its focus from delicious whiskey to producing much needed hand sanitizer.

Sometimes we need people to speak out against overreaching government and unjust regulations. In San Luis Obispo, California, former police chief turned business owner has stood up to local government, refusing to abide by the county’s shelter at home order and keeping his gun store operating. He pushed back against the order, stating that he was providing law-abiding citizens with protection, and that he was willing to risk fines and even jail time to continue serving his community. Thanks to his courage, the local government relented and removed firearm stores from the list of businesses required to temporarily close.

Entrepreneurial-minded innovators are coming together to form new communities to tackle the COVID-19 crisis head on. An organic Facebook community has grown to over 300 engineers, medical professionals, and researchers to create a prototype ventilator using 3D-printed parts in just seven days. The group is now expanding to build other needed equipment to combat the pandemic.

Business owners and entrepreneurs are the rebels who embody the spirit of putting it all on the line when they truly believe in an idea that will make the world a better place.

Their innovative spirit, courage, and no-quit attitudes make our lives immeasurably better in everyday life. Today, as people across the world navigate this pandemic, entrepreneurs and business owners are again putting it all on the line to overcome the odds, get around obstacles, and bring desperately needed innovation to the fight. The world needs more heroes like this to keep communities strong, and bring hope to their friends and neighbors.

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Mike Feuz

Mike is the Research Associate at Free the People and a grassroots activist in Virginia politics. When he isn't trying to fight the machine, he's busy being a dad to his two boys. With the little free time he has left, he spends it pursuing his graduate work in economics at George Mason University.

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