People Matter

SMBs Step Up to Help During COVID-19

May 5, 2020

Inspiring Stories of Entrepreneurial Spirit

Like many of you, I have a deep admiration and appreciation for the contribution that entrepreneurs make to our nation and to the world. Small businesses are the birthplace of innovation, the backbone of the U.S. economy and the foundation of the American dream. And Small Business Week is a great opportunity for people across the nation to reflect on and celebrate the impact that small and medium-size businesses (SMBs) have on our communities. But this week means even more when so many SMBs are struggling. I am also thinking about my family members and friends who are small business owners and the thousands of TriNet customers who are sacrificing so much in the face of this pandemic.

During this extraordinary time, I am truly humbled to witness the resilience and dedication of SMBs as they navigate this unprecedented crisis. They have stepped up and adapted to have an impact on their local communities and the world at large through innovative and incredible solutions. They are the real heroes of our nation and I believe they will be key to our nation’s economic recovery.

I’m fortunate enough to work with over 18,000* SMBs and have a unique view into some of the most disruptive work they’re doing to improve humanity. I am honored to share some of the inspiring stories of some of our customers who have pivoted their businesses to answer global needs during the COVID-19 crisis. For more stories like these, visit our website to better understand some of our incredible clients and how they have adjusted their business model to support this unique time in history.

World Housing Solution provides high-quality, and energy efficient, temporary modular structures that allow military personnel, health care professionals and disaster relief responders to operate in severe environments. As the pandemic evolved, the central Florida-based manufacturer quickly recognized they could play a crucial role in combating COVID-19 by adapting their rapidly deployable shelters for use as overflow hospital units. They provide “ICUs-in-a-box” in different sizes to handle the surge of patients. These quickly built hospital structures can be assembled by a few people in under an hour, can be disinfected and reused, and provide a better environment for patients and healthcare workers on the front lines.

MobLab’s interactive games and experiential learning technology is turning economics, business, and social science classrooms into virtual laboratories. Due to shelter in place guidelines, teachers must quickly learn to transition to online classrooms. MobLab is helping by providing its digital content and education platform at no cost for the remainder of the school year. This free initiative was initially launched to all universities in China and has since expanded to schools in the U.S., Australia, and Europe. Even though this will take a toll on short-term revenue for the “mobile lab” company, they remain committed to helping educators and students finish their academic year strong and with minimal disruption.

Biodesix is a lung cancer diagnostic solutions company with a mission to improve patient care by providing physicians with immediate, actionable insights. Although virus detection is not a focus of the company, Biodesix leaders felt compelled to leverage their technology and expertise to enter the fight against the devastating coronavirus pandemic. They are now testing for the virus that causes COVID-19 with highly-sensitive tests that will reduce false negative results, further helping to curb the spread. Biodesix can process 1,000 tests per day and provide results in as little as 48 hours with plans to expand if needed. The testing capacity of Biodesix addresses one of the main challenges hospitals face—test shortages and extensive delays in receiving results.

re:3D a Texas-based manufacturing startup, provides affordable, life-size 3D printing that enables problem-solvers around the world to address their local needs. The company is mobilizing their global 3D print peers and customers to produce necessary healthcare equipment in response to COVID-19. They’re leveraging their Research and Development experience to prototype life-saving devices and personal protective equipment (PPE) that can be produced by 3D printers at no cost in order to fill supply gaps. re:3D is also designing hands-free door pulls, face shields and intubation boxes that can be produced by their customers and are then distributed to local hospitals and everyone on the front lines.

Coyuchi, a pioneer in clean, natural, organic cotton bedding, was the first to bring organic home linens to the U.S. market. The San Francisco-based linen manufacturer has donated fabric samples to activists who are sewing the scraps into much needed non-medical face masks for the local community and hospitals. Out of concern for the workers in their supply chain in India, they are also donating 1% of every purchase to their partner, Cheta Organic, to assist farmers who have been affected by COVID-19.

These start-ups and entrepreneurs never cease to amaze me – I’m blown away by the products and services they create, and in times of need, their contributions to society and generosity to all people.

SMBs are using their resources, ingenuity and drive to truly make a difference. By sharing these stories, perhaps they offer some hope for all of us as we navigate these challenging times.

*As of 12/31/19

By Burton M. Goldfield

Burton M. Goldfield is President and CEO of TriNet

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