Launching a Business During a Pandemic? Why Yes!

Starting a business is undoubtedly a risky proposition even in the best of times. Individuals and families have invested and lost fortunes and personal savings in service to a passion they hope will pay off. Some do thrive. But in the middle of a pandemic? Arlington’s entrepreneurs and businesses know a lot about determination and innovation.

For Greg Kihlstrom, a creative background in digital marketing and customer experience is the vantage point for seeing trends in business, often relying on current circumstances. After seeing the rapid rise in freelance and gig economy (36% at the beginning of 2020) and projected to grow even faster as businesses recover from COVID-19, Kihlstrom researched what it would take to ensure stability and benefits for workers while providing exceptional talent to industry.

Launching on July 13 CareerGig is a marketplace that provides freelancers access to premium jobs plus health insurance, retirement, and other benefits. Taking an innovative technology approach to hiring, this forward-thinking company might just be the future of the contract employment workforce.

For Fresh Oasis, March was the target date for rolling out a self-service fresh food option that was just as perfect for hurried millennials as health conscious workers. Placing vending machines stocked with freshly made breakfast items, snacks and salads in office buildings, apartment buildings and universities would be a big shift from the standard soft drinks and high calorie bagged snacks. With no cost to the building owner or manager, Fresh Oasis is introducing a business model that provides an unexpected fresh option in high traffic areas. And then buildings closed. But like many entrepreneurs, giving up is not in their DNA. Founders Marlon Talbot and Rodrigo Armendariz are refitting the vending machines and adding face masks, sanitizers and disinfecting towels for a new model they’re calling Safe Oasis.

With resource support from BizLaunch, Fresh Oasis is crafting a new strategy for placing their vending machines closer to where people are now working – from home and often in apartment buildings. As places like gyms cautiously open, having a fresh (and safe) option close at hand will be the choice patrons are looking for.

Stephanie Misar was no stranger to making connections throughout her career in international media. When Misar reached out to join the entrepreneurs and artisans of Made in Arlington, it was at a time when pivoting from high octane consultancy to artist was as much of a calling as rebranding. Art had always taken a back seat and stayed on the back burner while live TV and launch events consumed her world. But with everything on ‘pause’ it was time to reflect and use all the branding strategies she’d mastered to her advantage.  In true entrepreneurial spirit, Misar has not missed a beat putting every skill set, especially her creativity, on display. And not content to limit her reach to one medium, Misar has launched Photography by Stephanie Misar and abstract art through her online store because every successful business owner knows you can’t rely on one platform to tell your story.

Throughout the pandemic and recovery, Arlington is home to innovative solutions to the way business is done.

Topic: Creative Economy
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