Dubai-based STEP launched its first online event as part of its series on the impact of COVID-19 on businesses. The two-hour event featured Fadi Ghandour, executive chairman at Wamda, Rabea Ataya founder and CEO of Bayt.com and Eleni Kitara regional head of automotive and financial services at Facebook who all shared their expert views and strategies on handling business in times of crisis.
Here is a summary of the main points:
Fadi Ghandour, Wamda
- Everyone in the ecosystem now is in the “triage mode”. Startup founders should be aware that everyone now is in the triage mode, and VCs and investors are no exception.
- Everyone - including government, private sector companies, is now focusing on what keeps their businesses agile and relevant rather than on focusing on things they cannot control or foresee.
- When it comes to raising funds in times like these, relevance is the key word here – which means that in order to get the attention of investors, it is important to prove that your businesses would be able to come out resilient and relevant during, and after the crisis period.
Rabea Ataya, Bayt.com
- Drawing on our experience at the company, what we did early on in this crisis is to divide our team into those that would focus on defence and those who focus on the offence.
- On the defence side, people like the chief financial officer, the human resources managers and myself are most concerned with preserving cash flow, creating new efficiencies and ensuring that we are able to survive the crisis in the long run. Meanwhile, the head of marketing along with our chief commercial officer and our chief technology officer are all tasked with looking for new investment opportunities and driving the business forward.
Eleni Kitra, Facebook
- Working from home especially for women working at the company lends a challenge for them as they have to create a tradeoff between their responsibilities at home and work. The new situation is affecting women in terms of how they are going to work after the crisis ends. Industries with high concentrations of women workers are going to be affected the most as the focus would be shifted towards generating more income rather than empowering women. We will see women not being able to get a job or being the first ones to be taken out of the production.