Entrepreneurship to Thrive as Indiana Emerges from Crisis
It’s 9 pm on Sunday night. Indiana is finishing week one of COVID 19 quarantine. Life has in many ways ground to a halt. Schools are closed. Most businesses are closed. People are staying in their homes. It’s dark out. John Wechsler is working the phones.
Wechsler has a line on how to get maybe as many as 50,000 masks to local health care providers. One of his many connections in the entrepreneurial community can import the masks in an expedited fashion, but he needs capital to make it happen. And he needs it soon.
As has been his way his entire career, Wechsler explodes into action. He activates different parts of his network and within 24 hours has helped raise funds needed to buy the 50,000 masks and more.
Wechsler is a serial entrepreneur. He has been involved in numerous startups and currently is the Founder and CEO of Launch Fishers, the Fishers IoT Lab and Fishers Test Kitchen. All of these ventures have helped transform his community of Fishers into a hub of entrepreneurial energy. If Wechsler has his way, not even a world-wide pandemic is going to slow that down.
New Ideas for a New World
Wechsler had more calls from entrepreneurs with new ideas in the first month of the quarantine than he had experienced in the few months prior. While some companies will no doubt suffer loss or even be decimated by the health calamity, others will figure out the next big idea that will take root in our society as the crisis fades.
“Entrepreneurship is going to be bigger than ever in the wake of COVID-19,” believes Wechsler. “For those that have the band-with, can find the capital and have the temperament, there is a huge opportunity.”
That attitude is in the DNA of an entrepreneur: Identify what is missing in the market. Find a solution. Assess the risk. Make a product. Create value for a customer.
For example, in a world where social distancing remains prevalent and where people may want to congregate or work in different ways there is a huge need for businesses and organizations to better analyze how they can use their space. As the number of people working (or schooling) from home increases, new tools will need to be developed to make that experience the best it can be. When people do venture out to common spaces again, they are going to want to know that it’s safe. New products and techniques to clean our offices, classrooms, playgrounds, and restaurants will be developed.
All of this and more will rely on entrepreneurs to create and that is the opportunity Wechsler is ready to jump on.
At Launch Fishers, the state’s largest co-working space, the team began working at the very beginning of the health crisis to figure out how to get people back to the workspace. New protocols and procedures have been developed. Air filters are upgraded. Some of the more social yet vital components of the co-working experience, like pitch-in lunches, are being re-thought.
Indiana Back on Track
Wechsler’s thinks Indiana and its entrepreneurial sector are up to the challenge of helping get the state back to prosperity.
“Indiana is well-positioned to be one of the fastest states to bounce back,” says Wechsler. “Our economy was strong before the COVID-19 crisis; we are a very business-friendly state.” Wechsler says he is very hopeful for the future.
That future will undoubtedly involve growing the number of entrepreneurs and small businesses that call Indiana home. With strong fundamentals and continued steady leadership from government, business and community leaders, Indiana should be able to do just that.