Entrepreneurs' response to managing the COVID-19 crisis through survey analysis, visions, and recommendations
Endeavor Jordan conducted a survey to get a flavor of the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on startups. The sample included 110 founders of fast-growing companies, including Endeavor Jordan’s Entrepreneurs, across eight verticals including: Agriculture, Commerce, Retail & Consumer Tech, Education, Enterprise Software & Services, Food & Beverage, Healthcare, Smart City, and FinTech.
They shed a high-level view on how those founders are navigating through this raging sea of uncertainty, and some of the measures taken to weather the storm. They also present some reflections from Endeavor Jordan’s high-profile network members including board members, mentors, and entrepreneurs.
In a time when the whole world is under partial or complete lockdown, businesses are facing significant challenges and need to respond rapidly. Today, companies are forced to implement immediate disruptive measures to their business models in order to evolve and survive the new realities. While lack of visibility is making it extremely challenging to plan ahead, entrepreneurs are nonetheless hard at work re-evaluating their priorities and re-engineering their operating models. The transition to remote work was mostly smooth for most, however, a notable number still face dire challenges.
Endeavor Jordan focused on:
Impact on revenue - Reflecting on the impact of the crisis, a sizeable segment of companies was either completely closed at the time the survey was conducted, or facing a serious slowdown, and notably, those relying on offline sales and physical operations.
Hiring practices - When questioned about hiring practices during these unpredictable and very challenging times, the majority of businesses indicated their intention to freeze all forms of hiring. Around one-fifth have downsized today, and more will follow suit in the coming 3-6 months.
Preparedness for crisis - Many companies were taken by surprise and were not well prepared to tackle the crisis. The ability to quickly adapt and pivot the business model will be key for survival over the next few months. When asked about business preparedness for the crisis, only 7% responded that they were fully prepared to take on the challenge.
Transitioning towards digitization - Around 60% of surveyed entrepreneurs are planning to invest in digitization, whereas more than 80% of entrepreneurs are planning to invest in the coming 6-18 months as cash becomes more available.
Pressing challenges of 2020 - The most pressing challenges of 2020 revolve around cashflow management and the ability to raise funds. Other matters such as logistics, operations, and HR take a distant third and fourth positions.
New practices ahead - Moving forward, entrepreneurs will be instituting a process for strategic planning, and will certainly integrate remote working mechanisms. Agility and innovation, in addition to crisis management, will also top their lists among key practices that will be adopted post-crisis.
'In times of adversity and challenges, the entrepreneurial spirit of individuals and nations thrives to lead change initiatives to emerge with creative solutions that contribute to change for the better', Endeavor Jordan Chairman, President and CEO of Integrated Technology Group, Walid Tahabsem states.
COVID-19 further suppressed the number of deals in MENA-based startups in April but total funding increased by 202% as EMPG joined MENA’s unicorn list by raising $150M from existing shareholders. Learn more details in MAGNiTT’s April 2020 Dashboard.