San Diego Entrepreneurs Exchange (SDEE) has served as a platform for hundreds of early stage entrepreneurs to find ways to work together, network, acquire skills to get funding and bring business to the San Diego area.
SDEE's primary focus is in Life Sciences, Biotech, Pharma, Medical Devices, Tech and Alternative Energy.
I connected with Taylor Moyer, former president of SDEE who shared insights regarding covid-19's impact and how the group is supporting Sandiego's entrepreneurs.
Taylor Moyer now serves as SDEE Board Member, and is also CEO of ManagedLab Services. She’s been advocating for entrepreneurs for 20 years.
SV: What kinds of disruptions in the entrepreneurial scene has the COVID-19 pandemic caused?
TM: The most fundamental disruption has been the basic inability for scientists to work in their labs and the fact that so many have simply had to close their labs entirely for now. On top, many entrepreneurs are service providers of some sort, and with labs closing, revenue dries up which is not only scary for small companies and contractors, but it has led to funding drying up and people having to lay off valued employees.
SV: What are the challenges for the SDEE community during the health emergency?
TM: All of the above, as well as the fact that many within our community rely on a steady stream of funding( which is quickly drying up) to stay in business. Additionally, many of our entrepreneurs lack the in-house expertise to successfully, quickly navigate the PPP process, which put them at a disadvantage to the larger “small” businesses that were able to capitalize.
SV: How are you engaging and supporting your community?
TM: In addition to a COVID-19 resource page we have posted at www.sdentrepreneurs.org, we have a weekly SDEE COVID-19 entrepreneur roundtable, which serves as a place where our members can get together for support, advice, and input from subject matter experts offering relevant information.
We also continue to put on remote workshops and educational talks to continue to give our entrepreneurs a way to collaborate, learn, and grow.
Finally, we are working to revamp our famous monthly happy hours with a digital format just for emotional and collegial support.
SV: What are your recommendations for job seekers?
TM: Keep looking, many organizations are still hiring. Stay active and relevant by participating in e-networking opportunities and keeping your ears open.
SV: What opportunities should entrepreneurs take advantage of during this pandemic times?
TM: Potential pivots into the COVID-19 space for access to new fund opportunities, finding ways to stay in business and relevant while many others struggle. PPP funding if possible for your organization.
SV: Which industries have you seen being affected most in the region?
TM: Restaurants, photographers, events, etc.
SV: How can the tech community join the effort to support SDEE?
TM: Continue to provide educational and networking opportunities
SV: From your standpoint how soon do you see us going back to normal and how would this new normal be like?
TM: Ugh, I don’t think we’ll be FULLY back to normal for 12-18 months, and until then, hopefully not after then, I see business moving to shift work and increased PPE and safety protocols to increase employee safety and promote the required social distancing.
SV: What is your main message for entrepreneurs during this season?
TM: Put your energy into finding funding wherever you can (PPP, SBA, etc.) open your mind to pivoting your research to more relevant, i.e. fundable, targets, and network, network, network.
About Arkus: Arkus is your local software development consultancy. Servicing Southern California for 17+years, the group assists companies grow their software development capacity and accelerate delivery of software products. Arkus and MIND Hub (owned by Arkus) are ongoing supporters of SDEE. For more info visit goarkus.com