Navigating the ‘’new normal’’ is the big question for most entrepreneurs like me, the pandemic has brought the world to it’s knees, immeasurable human loss and economic strain – which is considered the worst since the great depression. The economic consequences are immense and way beyond the current impact. The majority, if not all– countries will experience higher unemployment rates and reduction in wages, increased uncertainty for investments and bankruptcy for some initially successful companies.
I try to be an optimist and look at the brighter side about how we can all learn to embrace the new normal ways during and post coronavirus . The new normal is the positive impact of digital culture since the lockdown and adoption of social distancing.
Tech-based companies such as Zoom and Slack have thrived during the pandemic, as companies were forced to find alternative ways of working from home.
This presents the need to highlight some key areas of opportunity in the current state of affair. Investment in areas such as EdTech, MedTech, FinTech among other digital solutions is the way to go. Some key areas of investment opportunities include;
The increased use of the internet has exposed more people to cyber-attacks and data fraud as millions are now working from home, buying groceries online, shopping for clothing online, studying online and much more.
The recent hack into Twitter accounts of some public figures like Obama, Bill Gates, Elon Musk among others, shows a major vulnerability in security, hence solutions in this line may be worth a try.
Remote working solutions
Majority of white-collar jobs have been moved to home offices and this has worked great for major tech companies such as Twitter and Facebook. Research by Review42 about remote work statistics shows that 55% of businesses globally offer some capacity for remote work, 77% of telecommuters report being more productive. $11,000 is how much companies can save annually for each employee that works remotely half-time and people who work remotely earn $4,000 more per year on average and most importantly 99% of remote workers want to continue telecommuting in the future. A keen entrepreneur can identify opportunities in remote working as the direction into the future of work.
Digital farmer apps
Traders such as farmers and small to medium scale retailers have experienced massive loss and challenges during the pandemic. This has sparked ideas on how to make trading safe where transactions are cashless and with less physical contact.
This provides opportunities for mobile app solutions and online platforms where demand and supply of goods and services meet virtually.
In Sub-Sahara Africa, there has been a number of mobile apps developed to help farmers cope with different challenges and provide solutions. The necessity for this prior to the pandemic is a great way of adapting to the digital culture.
Digital wallet/cashless payments
A recent article by Bloomberg highlighted the massive need for cashless transactions during this pandemic. Developed countries with high levels of innovation have been slower at adopting solutions such as mobile payment. Kenya has been a frontrunner globally in terms of adoption of mobile payment solutions with the introduction of Mpesa back in 2007.
In the UK 1 in 10 people were refused by shops when trying to pay with cash during the lockdown. It is evident that the world of Fintech is progressing fast but not fast enough to meet the demand with the effect of the pandemic in the world has been exposed to over the last 6 months.
Learning institutions have been hit harder than most sectors, especially in developing countries where the quality of learning facilities is in dire need of basic things like internet, electricity and computer labs. Most students especially lower income level and primary school students have had no option but to count 2020 wasted since parents and schools do not have access to resources that can enable online learning.
Companies like Microsoft have invested in an initiative dubbed Global Skills Initiative to improve digital skills 25 million people in the workforce with resources from LinkedIn and GitHub.