The biggest threat to global economy since the 2008 financial crisis, the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) has proven to be vicious and resilient, with no signs of abating anytime soon. Faced with such powerful, invisible enemy, businesses across the world have been hit hard. Big conglomerates and corporations may have deep enough pockets to weather the storm, but startups and small and medium businesses surely do lack that privilege.
In times of adversity, however, human resilience also becomes a deciding factor in what the outcome of the situation would be. In Egypt, many businesses and institutions didn’t take the hit laying down, with some, across different fields, quickly adopting online modes of doing business that enable them to continue operating, albeit sometimes on a smaller scale, and enables their customers to have uninterrupted access to their services all-the-while staying safe and isolated. Below are some Egyptian businesses and institutions that are doing this especially well:
Fitness – Move Egypt // Customized online workouts
Fitness coaching is not a field one would normally expect to be online, but over the past decades, many fitness startups have been offering online workouts. After it was officially decided all gymnastic and fitness facilities have to shut down, many of such facilities moved their fitness instruction courses online, enabling their customers to remain fit and healthy when most needed.
Entertainment – Room Art Space // Virtual concerts
Socially-isolating doesn’t mean the fun needs to end. Many Cairene entertainment hubs, like Room Art Space and Cairo Jazz Club, are beginning to utilize live-streaming to host virtual concerts and parties for their customers. Though mostly not income-generating, such adaptation strategy could prove to have a positive effect on brand loyalty over the long term.
Retail – Oscar’s Supermarket // Seniors’ hour
It’s now known that the elderly are most vulnerable to COVID-19, which is why a number of countries have placed greater restrictions on the free movement of their elderly. In Cairo, a number of supermarkets and stores now have deciated seniors only hour, attempting to reduce the elderly’s exposure risk to the killer virus.
Medical – Vezeeta // Option to call a doctor immediately and inquire about COVID-19
This medical startup has updated its app with a pop-up message giving its customers the option to immediately call a specialist can answer all their questions and concerns regarding COVID-19, all at no charge.
Therapy – Shezlong App // Free online therapy sessions
Under normal circumstances, we could all use a little therapy. With COVID-19 and the anxiety and panic it ensued, we could use a lot of it. Most of Cairo’s clinics are now offering many of their therapy services online, aiming at helping its customers cope with the many anxieties prompted by the COVID-19 outbreak.
Education – AUC // Utilizing Zoom to turn all classes and workshops online
The first institution in Egypt to take prompt action to contain the COVID-19 outbreak, the American University in Cairo decided last week to move up Spring Break to this week, giving its staff and faculty space to optimize online tools to resume classes in an online setting. To that end, every student and staff and faculty members were signed up to Zoom, a prominent video conferencing service, and all of the university’s classes, meetings and workshops are expected to be conducted online starting next week.
Grocery – GoodsMart // Capping order limit to prevent stockpiling
Luckily, the phenomena of hoarding products is, so far, much less severe in Egypt than seen in global cities. That doesn’t mean that it’s not happening, which is why many food retailers in Egypt are now fully utilizing online ordering, with some capping ordering amounts, to ensure all its customers get daily delivery of fresh produce and essential products.
Promotions – SKY for Giveaways // Care Kit
Sky for Giveaways, MerMaid, and many other Egyptian startups – not necessarily specializing in delivery of products – are now offering their customer care packages that have all essential sanitary products. The initiative could go a long way in combatting overpricing of sanitary products by retailers.