We’ve spoken with a number of executives in the past 3 months who are responding to COVID-19 for their big tech business or small startup, and we noticed some trends in how businesses are responding to the pandemic. Quite a few people from virtual panel attendees to readers to interviewees have asked Cronicle questions about what we’re seeing in our interviews with Midwest Tech. It’s the million-dollar question: what’s next? How are businesses coping, and how does that impact their workers and public health? Here are the top trends we’ve noticed behind the scenes in Midwest tech in our interviews from manufacturers and scientists pivoting to produce PPE to tech startups creating new software for public health initiatives. All of this is based in our limited interview time and virtual networking, not an official survey. Here are, in order that they appeared, the behind the scenes trends we’ve noticed in Midwest tech businesses responding to the coronavirus pandemic.
Protect Michigan Creates New Air Filtration PPE for Frontline COVID-19 Workers Facing High Viral Load
Ann Arbor’s maker community has designed a simplified protective face shield with powered filtered flow, a little brother of the high-end hazmat suit style PAPRs (Powered Air Purifying Respirators) you see in contagion movies. The so-called PFFR is not a fully contained helmet or suit, and has been redesigned to be more appropriate for the current pandemic. It costs under $100 instead of $2,000, and will soon be ready for production. The only problem? Many frontline workers are only allowed to use protective gear that fits into previously FDA-approved personal protective equipment (PPE). This concept likely falls between existing PPE categories, because it isn’t a full respirator mask and it isn’t a simple face shield but somewhere in between. The journey to getting FDA emergency use authorization has been a long one, even in times when the agency has sped up its evaluation process drastically to get more PPE onto the front lines.
In a short month, everything from grocery delivery to contactless delivery robots are becoming commonplace as the American workforce adjusts to work from home. You can still go out of the house for essentials even during stay-at-home orders in most cases, but what if you’re looking to have contactless delivery of as many supplies as possible? We put together a list of top newer delivery services you may not know are now in your area. We focused this list on Southeast Michigan where we have tested the services, but many of these services are national or quickly expanding in your area, too. Most offer a zip code check to find out if you are in the delivery zone.
Companies around the world are navigating how to reopen after shutdown. In many cases, it simply isn’t feasible for workers to return to cramped working conditions even with masks and hand sanitizer or spray shields, so many companies are extending work from home indefinitely. But tech has largely been operating on the idea that innovation happens in close quarters when founders swim in a soup of collaborative brainstorming–especially startups that operate out of coworking spaces. What happens to the coworking spaces and the smaller tech startups that operate out of these shared spaces after reopening?
Michigan’s business analysis firm EntryPoint has just released the Washtenaw County COVID-19 Business Impact Report to help business owners and investors examine the effects of the coronavirus outbreak on local business and investment. For startups and tech businesses looking at the business landscape, here’s what you’ll learn:
Today, the Michigan Venture Capital Association released its annual research report on the state of venture capital in Michigan. As with other recently published reports on the state of business investment, the MVCA Research Report show record-breaking investment in the recovering state’s new business ecosystem, followed by challenges brought by COVID-19.
Michigan-based EntryPoint has just released their 2020 Detroit Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Report, two months ahead of schedule to provide extra data to aid in the development of business support programs to address the COVID-19 outbreak in Michigan. The report consists of comprehensive analysis of Detroit’s high-tech entrepreneurial community over the last six years, along with notes on how businesses are handling the current coronavirus outbreak in a city that has just recovered from municipal bankruptcy only to be hit by another economic downturn.
Lansing Region LEAP Emergency Small Business Relief Grant Applications Now Open To Mid-Michigan Businesses
LANSING, Mich. (Mar. 26, 2020) – Yesterday, the Lansing Economic Area Partnership (LEAP) successfully secured $600,000 from the MEDC’s Small Business Relief Program to issue 60 $10,000 grants to small businesses across Clinton, Eaton and Ingham counties that are suffering financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Michigan’s small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 virus can now apply for grants and loans through the Michigan Small Business Relief Program. The program will provide up to $20 million in grants and loans to provide economic assistance to Michigan’s small businesses that have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 virus, and in turn help support workers and their families facing economic uncertainty during the outbreak. Information on how to apply, as well as eligibility criteria, is available at www.michiganbusiness.org/covid19.
MI Manufacturers, Tech Companies Available to Requests for Ventilators, Remote Work Tech, Business Resources
Cronicle’s MICHIGAN LIFE SCIENCES & TECH BUSINESS COVID-19 COLLABORATION PAGE is now live and being added to daily. Michigan has a number of manufacturers, tech businesses, and hospital systems working together to create everything from medical supplies to vaccines to remote work and education options right now for COVID-19 response. Cronicle Press has put together a beginning list of companies posting requests or offering solutions to the coronavirus outbreak from business to educational tech to medical supplies and life science research. We will add to this list continually, but wanted to let you know it’s already up and running, from local manufacturers able to prototype ventilators and other hospital supplies to tech companies helping professionals and students switch to remote work options.