The impact of the COVID-19 crisis is noticeable in a variety of businesses, with particularly severe consequences for the tourism, entertainment and cultural sectors. What will be the impact of quarantine to Lithuanian startups? According to experts, this period can be a time of recession but also a great opportunity to adapt and offer the market what it needs today.
Gintas Kimtys, acting director for Agency for Science, Innovation and Technology, says that most startups will experience the negative effects of the pandemic: “Many young businesses will face reduced amount of customers, slower business growth, supply barriers, financing and investment gaps. Everything is stagnating and slowing down, but it is difficult to predict how this crisis will develop in the future, and what consequences it will have. Still, there will be startups whose business will thrive if they respond to the market needs during this time.”
Successful startups will solve relevant problems
According to G. Kimtys, the lack of resources can be a chance to show creativity and ingenuity: “People spend a lot of time at home and online. There are certainly opportunities if a startup sells or offers something that will improve peoples’ lives in this difficult time. Examples include home delivery, online learning, home-based solutions, virtual consultations or even tools that can simply brighten your mood.”
According to a startup survey conducted by “Startup Lithuania”, even with the global pandemic causing alarms to the global economy, some businesses today are barely able to handle increased customer orders. “This situation, created by COVID-19, can be described by some sectors as a period of new opportunities. Examples include startups in educational technology (EdTech), E-commerce, food delivery services and the gaming industry,“ says the Head of “Startup Lithuania” Roberta Rudokienė.
According to Živilė Glaveckaitė, Founder and CEO of „bznStart“, the Knowledge Center for Business Growth in Lithuania, perspectives are also visible to those who can find solutions to today’s problems. For example, helping doctors: “The fact that as much as 30 percent of doctors in China are infected with coronavirus, shows that special attention and decision-making is needed in this area. Because medical sector is the nucleus that will help control disease and remove all restrictions from business.”
to Ž. Glaveckaitė, startups around the world
are beginning to fill this
market: “Solutions are now being developed
to remotely monitor patients with the coronavirus. Robots are capable of disinfecting various
spaces and providing people with food, while bracelets are capable
of monitoring temperature, and there is UV light that kills 99.9% of germs on mobile devices. There are a lot of opportunities, the question
is who will show the
leadership and mobilize to achieve results.”
Unadapting startups will suffer
According to R. Rudokienė, as in traditional business, startups that are directly influenced by quarantine will struggle the most: “The tourism sector will be the most affected, as well as startups offering event-related services and those directly involved with physical shops, restaurants, or other places with restricted access at this time.”
to Ž. Glaveckaitė, the most challenging aspect will be to quickly direct
resources where they can create value today:
“Startups will only be negatively affected if they remain at the level of ideas
without making changes. It will also be difficult for those
who are just following their current direction and not trying to open up to a different mindset – not necessarily inventing something else, perhaps
offering their resources to someone in need, and thus being able to reorient
and utilise the current situation.”
G. Kimtys emphasizes that startups, even in restricted sectors, must look for opportunities to survive: “For example, startups related to the sports, beauty or education industries can provide virtual training. It is also important to remember that these services will become more relevant when the pandemic ends, so it is important to mobilize resources and adapt in order to survive in this difficult period.”
For startups and other businesses that have innovative ideas and want to make their businesses more efficient, MITA runs a project „TechHub“. Its experts will advise on strategy, business financing, tax incentives and other topics. It is planned that 100 innovations will be created and/or implemented by the companies and startups during the project.
TechHub is a project implemented by the Agency for Science, Innovation and Technology (MITA) to help develop early-stage innovative business ideas, encourage intensive start-up growth and sustainable development of the entrepreneurial ecosystem. The aim of the project is to encourage researchers, scientists, students and businesses to develop innovative ideas, provide their teams with support and opportunities for intensive growth. We invite you to follow all project related news on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn as well as TechHub.vu.lt and https://mita.lrv.lt/.
The project is funded by the European Regional Development Fund. No: 01.2.1-LVPA-V-842 Inogeb EN