Cat Ward sqaure
"Our relationship with technology almost seems as natural as breathing."

Cat Ward Programme Manager – Tayside

As we reach a peak in the coronavirus pandemic, the Government is continuing to offer a range of business support - where possible, to shield our country’s economy from any further potential blows.

However, could there be an unexpected silver lining for small businesses? Perhaps disguised behind the facemasks are opportunities for entrepreneurs to grow in this period of uncertainty?

It is amazing how quickly life can change. It only seems like yesterday that we welcomed a new group of founders to our Dundee Centre for Entrepreneurship, all eager to embark on their own Elevator journey as we started our eighth programme. 

At the time, I noticed how quickly individuals gelled. From day one, they sat around one big table, chatting about their businesses, lives and hopes for the future. Amongst the laughter we were witnessing the birth of innovative, new ideas and the beginning of friendships.

Fast forward eight weeks, and life looks remarkably different.

As we entered week three of our eighth programme, lockdown was looming - we knew something had to change. So, we took on our biggest challenge yet and took our programme digital.

It is not always been easy – we are all dealing with a ‘new normal’, with the parameters between work and life arguably more blurred than ever before. Add worries about loved ones, the stress of social distancing and the long-term impact of this pandemic into the mix and it is no surprise that many of us feel that we are on an emotional roller-coaster.

But - and there is always a but -, from our founders, partners and programme delivers to agitators, every single person has embraced the change to digital delivery with enthusiasm, positivity, and a good dose of humour.

And, although we miss the 11am coffee break and the rush for the Centre’s wonderful shortbread, the change hasn’t stopped our founders having their Friday evening get together - albeit on Zoom, rather than the local bar.

Our relationship with technology almost seems as natural as breathing.

It comes as no surprise that our founders have adapted and embraced change. As the great entrepreneurial educator, Bill Aulet - the inaugural speaker in Elevator’s 12 ½ Minutes… series – says: “working in an environment of great change, if you’re a great entrepreneur, is playing to your strength.”

Entrepreneurs will always find opportunities, even in times of crisis. And, while I wish that none of us have had to go through what we’ve experienced during this global pandemic, I can’t help but have faith in the future, and the entrepreneurs that we are shaping on our programme.

It goes without saying, each of our founders is searching for that silver lining…

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