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Just a few weeks ago, it was business as usual and COVID-19 was just something in the news headlines.  Today, the government has brought the country to a standstill in an attempt to control the spread of the virus and curtail its death toll.

I have spoken to lots of entrepreneurs and small business owners over the last few weeks and we are all fighting for the survival of our businesses.  For many, a life’s work has been decimated in a matter of days.  And it’s not like there is anyone with all the answers of how to respond because nothing remotely like this has happened before.  No amount of planning or foresight could prepare a business for the scale of the challenge we now face.  There haven’t been any webinars about planning for a health and economic apocalypse… well, not until a couple of weeks ago!

Entrepreneurs and small business owners across the world are focused on how to get through the next few months while the healthcare system gets the virus under control.  I have seen how some have been able to rapidly pivot their business models in response to the new world order.  For many others, such a rapid change in direction is not feasible and fighting for survival is the only option.

There is some solace in the UK government’s willingness to take bold action in response to the crisis including pledging £330bn of business loans on preferential terms and investing £30-40bn in the job retention scheme.  Despite this, there are still parts of the economy are still left without any safety net, including many start-ups and small businesses in the tech sector.

What is evident, is that the machinery of government is in overdrive to keep as much of the economy as intact as possible, because while recession is inevitable there could be a strong rebound if the business infrastructure is still in place.  A key part of this is the tech sector, which will need to be stronger than ever to respond to the post-crisis challenges that the world will face.

I know that all the business representative groups, including Tech London Advocates, have been working night and day to channel their members’ issues and advise government on what needs to happen.  The Save Our Startups campaign is a great example of the work being done to highlight the plight of many in the tech sector and helping determine how the government responds.

The next few months are going to be unbelievably hard for every entrepreneur and small business owner.  But, in all this uncertainty, the one thing that we can be sure of is that it will end, and normality will return; perhaps different to the one we had before, but it will return.  And as entrepreneurs and small business leaders, we will play a crucial role in rebuilding the economy.  Our innovation, creativity and agility are precisely the qualities required to do this.

The very best of luck to you all.

Anthony Impey

Serial entrepreneur & Tech London Advocate

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