Rediscovering your entrepreneurial spirit during a crisis

By Lionel Tarumbwa

History has proved that periods of crisis are great breeding grounds for innovation and developments that propel our society ahead. The current pandemic has presented an opportunity for the rediscovery of the entrepreneurial spirit in business leaders.

Joseph Schumpeter long ago argued that crises were seedbeds of innovation and entrepreneurship. On April 1, WHO in Africa held its first hackathon for COVID-19, bringing together innovators from sub-Saharan Africa to pioneer local creative solutions against the pandemic. There is recognition that new technologies and growth may e

In times of crises, there is an awakening call to leadership that brings out the pillars for entrepreneurial success. Various paradigm shifts will allow entrepreneurs to rekindle the entrepreneurial spirit.


First, the key factor to rediscover your entrepreneurial spirit is undoubtedly leadership. As the current crisis rages on, most stakeholders are in limbo about the way forward and have cast all their fortune to the wind. There are a lot of unanswered questions pertaining to survival of business structures that existed before the virus had reached global pandemic levels. Will employees have their jobs tomorrow?

Moving to a new level of leadership demands an ability to influence stakeholders to accomplish what is needed. This is the time for constant, open and authentic communication with your stakeholders about the challenges that you are all facing. This will allow the cultivation of deep meaningful relationships built around common values and goals.

Seeing the System Differently

Businesses often have to engage consultants to take time to get a fresh, outside perspective on their organizations to find opportunities to innovate. It is without a doubt that entrepreneurs have started using this period to reimagine their business models.

One can take time to study their partnerships, distribution, production, promotions and all the cogs that affect the success of your business. It is an opportunity to introspect with teams and develop in-house solutions.

Anzisha fellow Farai Munjoma, founder and CEO of Shasha Network, an education consultancy based in Zimbabwe highlighted that he and his team have used the time to reflect and recalibrate operations.

“We reached out to advisors across the board and sought their advice on how we can best position ourselves for success. The additional time we had gave more time to specifically dedicate to research as well as long team pitching sessions,” he stated.

Faced with challenges in a number of business processes, teams can be honest about what works and what does not. This includes rethinking the organisational structure and how the team is made up. Open communication channels will also drive intrapreneurship within the company.

The adaptive leader builds skills for unlocking the potential in people, mobilizes collective wisdom and leads collaboratively innovative solutions to drive change.

The crisis will cause a shift in the way companies operate. There will be greater integration of technology in business operations. Collaboration culture and tools are also experiencing a shift. Companies should not assume that employees will be prepared for this shift. Employees need to be prepared for this shift before they return to work. This will reduce downtime and challenges when employees finally return to work.

Naturally, entrepreneurs are there to solve problems. Entrepreneurs have been known to defy the status quo and imagine that things can be done differently.

Actions during the crisis will shape firms in the long run. What actions have you implemented as you prepare yourself for the new normal?

Featured image: ALA student at the 2020 ALA Enterprise Festival (Photo Credit: Mfundo Mbanze)

Support the businesses of Anzisha Fellows

As Anzisha Fellows and their employees, beneficiaries and partner organizations weather this unprecedented pandemic, The Anzisha Prize Program has compiled the fellow directory for our community to identify opportunities to support fellow businesses. Read more