Why Entrepreneurs Shall Enjoy More Open and Innovative Scopes in the COVID-19 Environment
Sharna Jahangir posted on July 13, 2020 |
The other side of the coin. Is this a new avenue for engineering entrepreneurs?

If there are shadows, the light that casts them is always greater. While COVID-19 is presenting disasters in all sectors of engineering, impacting different cross-sections of professionals, it has opened rare and interesting opportunities for entrepreneurs. COVID-19 has brought to light many opportunities for innovations, and it is the engineering professionals and entrepreneurs who are to lead the way.

The world is changing as we fight the pandemic, and the GDPs of many countries have been impacted drastically. Now, how are they recovering from this challenging downturn?

First, as part of a process, an entrepreneur often takes the following steps:  

  1. Target the right business, study the right audience and bring viable proposals to light.
  2. Lobby and share their ideas to influence policymakers and stakeholders to achieve the right funding. Attaining fast mobilization of Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) and National Investment Banks (NIBs) to rally behind their objective projects is of large importance. 
  3. Have feasible projects and a strong project implementation plan. They must know their resources and deadlines and have a strong idea of economic and financial outcomes for creating a better result.
  4. Organize training and skills required for the project.
  5. Deliver efficient project implementation and project management—this is where the latest use of technology comes in.
  6. Work out very practical operations readiness plan.
  7. Last but not least, they must have passion and determination.  

Industries are making new investments. The pandemic is providing opportunities for entrepreneurs to venture into new areas. Policymakers envisage more entrepreneurial engagements of engineering authorities, investment bankers and consortium to promote new developments. Although, foreign direct investment (FDI) flows have fallen, they can play an important role in assisting local ventures and entrepreneurships throughout the time of COVID-19. Below are some entrepreneurial target sectors that show to be promising areas during the COVID-19 environment.

Sectors Demand Engineering Innovation and Pragmatic Support

From manufacturing and pharmaceuticals to environmental, automotive, aviation and software, every industry’s top priority is to guarantee that health and safety risks are eliminated or minimized to ensure the space is anti-COVID-19. The situation is forming a mindset for young entrepreneurs to bring in investments and manufacturing solutions for solving health, hygiene and safety challenges in the workplace, adding to the traditional entrepreneurial role.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)-Induced Industries Demand Tremendous Attention

AI is now involved in all sectors and helping automotive, aviation, tourism, general manufacturing, civil and architectural innovations. A prime focus is creating more work-from-home (WFH) settings and infrastructure, which brings attention to several software advancements and new technology practices. WFH practices are the new health-focused environment as people stop commuting to the office and maintain social isolation by not going into the office space. Buildings will be healthy and hygienic.

Public health and safety have never been more important and recognized—and remote work, automated guided vehicles (AGVs) and other forms of automation, which was once science fiction, has become today’s reality. From AI-enabled healthcare, advancements in supervised and unsupervised machine learning, and app developments to fight and trace the virus, technological ingenuity to fight COVID-19 is at the forefront. The virus has become a catalyst for pushing entrepreneurial inventions in the field of AI-induced fourth industrial revolution (4IR). A paper written by Dr. Paul Marinescu from the University of Bucharest describes 4IR as interconnecting networks and Internet of Things (IoT) systems for sharing and collecting data between systems at an exponential rate. The entrepreneurial role of various agents of development has become more critical for taking advantage of new business opportunities of insurmountable options and scope. 

Recent reports share that the virus has pushed the software industry to their highest levels through digital transformation, cloud computing, big data analytics and AI. Investor's Business Daily stated that software industries are placed at No. 2 on their list of 197 industries for re-occurring revenue, which it defines as the portion of a company’s revenue that is expected to continue in the future.

3D Printing Has Been Taking a Lead in Procuring Resources to Manage Loss of Energy and Material

The 3D-printing market has never been so large. It currently holds a value of USD$51.77 billion at 25.8 percent CAGR, and there is an ever-increasing demand for field-testing and prototyping technology. 3D printing has been admired by entrepreneurs due to its low cost and ability to deliver low-volume production, and companies are moving forward with conjectured concepts faster. 3D printing involves less human-machine interactions and yields precise results. For example, the pharmaceutical industry believes in revolutionizing medicine using 3D printing to design any pill size, carry the precise content for each patient, remove the need for fillers and control the processing of the drug for the release of medication.

The Power Sector Will Turn Its Face from Fossils Fuels to More Environmentally Friendly Energy Solutions

One of the essential crises is that there should be policies and precautions set in place to support human and environmental health. A major challenge of COVID-19 is the necessity of clean water and sterilized products, which involve immense energy and resources. Innovative ways are sought after to implement clean energy and water. More access to clean water is required for poor neighborhoods in America, indigenous spaces and under-developed countries as washing hands is a top priority and the biggest way to stop the spread of the virus. There is potential for entrepreneurs here. For example, a team of young scientists built a USD$250 million business to upcycle wastewater. Conventional energy manufacturing with fossil fuel impacts nature with oil spills and toxic waste disposal methods. There should be policies and precautions set in place to support energy that maintains a sustainable environment. Clean water and clean energy are a great priority, and more emphasis must be in placed to improve on all kinds of mechanisms within the industry. This offers the chance for entrepreneurs to move forward in clean energy goals, such as harvesting solar and wind power. As large corporations encourage several start-up companies, big energy can do the same, and this would be the time.

Vestas, a factory based in Ringkobing, Denmark, makes nacelles that are the chambers at the top of turbines where wind energy is turned into electricity. (Image courtesy of New York Times.)
Vestas, a factory based in Ringkobing, Denmark, makes nacelles that are the chambers at the top of turbines where wind energy is turned into electricity. (Image courtesy of New York Times.)

Several industries are reforming to include all kinds of mechanisms that support nature with sustainable environmental processes. For instance, a company in Ringkobing, Denmark has received a record-breaking order of  EUR€34.1 billion on their first-quarter for industrial-grade electric power-generating windmills and services. A philanthropic fund in South East Asia has been placed together to help collect USD$2.5 billion for clean energy investments as going green is part of recovering from the pandemic.

Industries are also working to implement more electric vehicles (EVs), with major companies, such as Mitsubishi and Mercedes, moving forward to develop EVs. Industry giants, such as GE, have begun seeking environmental solutions by investing in more solar and wind power projects developed by entrepreneurial scientists and engineers.

And so…

For engineering entrepreneurships to be successful in this environment, they must know their target business, perform adequate studies, manage project development, implement plans, and maintain quality with careful and technical precision. Engineering quality and technical precision expertise is in demand due to the urgent priority of maintaining health and safety for all.

Although this pandemic has resulted in global job loss, there is the other side of the coin. COVID-19 is opening doors for engineering entrepreneurs due to several reasons. Economies will be investing in more health and pharmaceutical advancements, environmental process improvements, and AI-driven and IoT-induced solutions. There are great windows for newer and value-added investment scopes where entrepreneurs can bring their pragmatic engineering planning, economic analysis, data science processing and more multipurpose engineering integration to life.

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