Global crisis unleashes new companies, new markets and industries – Heidi Zak, Co-CEO, ThirdLove


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As crisis roils the world economy due to prolonged lockdown, successful entrepreneurs say the period presents a blend of problems that entrepreneurs can build businesses around.

Indeed the COVID-19 has already thrown a curveball into the way of any outlook carried out at the beginning of the year. According to United Capital, a leading investment firm in Nigeria, no one could claim to have foreseen the current global event. While countries placed restrictions on movement of people to curb the fast-spreading virus, most businesses suffered and shuttered.

Consequently small and big companies have gone bankrupt, and nearly a quarter of world economies are facing recession.

However, successful entrepreneurs such as Heidi Zak, the co-CEO of female underwear apparel, ThirdLove, and Kevin Systrom, the co-founder of Instagram, believe the crisis presents opportunities for fresh business ideas that will cater to the new problems.

Speaking on what opportunities lie within global crisis, Heidi Zak said, “I believe entrepreneurship and starting a company stem from having a great idea at the moment of time you are living in”.

“Global crisis are what highlights the next generation of problems the world needs to solve to move forward – which gives rise to dozens and dozens of new companies, new markets, and new industries”, she added.

Kevin Systrom, co-founder of Instagram, a business that has now been sold to Facebook, also reiterated how the current global challenges can be leveraged by serious minded entrepreneurs to build a business.

Systrom explained, “Product building starts with the problem you are solving for people. If you root everything you do in a problem that people actually have, you are guaranteed to have customers”.

The fall out of the 3-month lockdown may have occasioned severe food shortages, economic depression, depletion of savings, disconnect between families, but they have yielded new opportunities that visionaries can tap to create companies.

Terawork, a Lagos-based digital outsourcing firm is currently helping people who have lost their jobs get freelance work. Zoom, a US communication company, has soared in subscription as people work from home. Kevin Systrom’s is helping state authorities measure how fast the pandemic is spreading across cities.

This may be your own chance to pivot or create new businesses.

Toyin Afilaka
Toyin Afilaka
Toyin Afilaka writes with simplicity and insight. He aims to enrich the Nigerian small business landscape. Through Hustle24 he connects entrepreneurs with information about new policies, enterprise solutions and opportunities that will aid their 'hustle'. He has written extensively for CobraReview, a product review portal, and served as a lead project manager for MarketingMix where he consulted as PR consultant for MTN Project Fame and Business Next Titan etc.


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