November, 2021

Entrepreneurship during a pandemic

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Commercial and social entrepreneurs are likely to help communities combat public health crises. Research on responses to pandemics has underappreciated the critical role of entrepreneurs. In the context of post-disaster response and recovery, entrepreneurs provide needed goods and services, repair and rebuild disrupted social networks, and can act as focal points for disaster survivors as they develop their plans to rebuild. During a pandemic, entrepreneurs perform similarly important economic and social functions. This article highlights these functions, including (1) providing the goods needed to survive and combat the pandemic, (2) performing the services needed so that people can stay productive and connected during the pandemic, and (3) acting as a source of community support and leadership. It also discusses how entrepreneurs are able to perform these roles despite operating in an environment that constricts the range and nature of entrepreneurial activity. Finally, this article describes a legal regime that will promote entrepreneurship during a pandemic.