The Hustle

Businesses of all sizes pivot to battle the pandemic — and to stay afloat

Despite ambiguous federal policies, several big American businesses began adapting their production facilities to address medical supplies shortages… and small businesses are doing their part, too.


March 24, 2020

Just over 3 weeks ago, the World Health Organization warned that global medical supplies (like masks, hand sanitizer, and ventilators) weren’t sufficient to meet the needs of the coronavirus crisis — and recommended a 40% increase in production.

But whose responsibility is it to make those extra supplies?

In the US, there’s a lot of confusion about the answer to that question.

The federal government has the power to force private companies to make supplies using the Defense Production Act

But the White House and the Federal Emergency Management Agency have issued contradictory statements about whether (and to what degree) the DPA will go into effect, leaving businesses with no specific guidance about what to produce even as virus-related deaths mount

Some companies have decided to shift production anyway

Taking a cue from European businesses like French luxury giant LVMH (which is shifting production from perfume to hand sanitizer), several big US business have begun to produce medical supplies: 

And small businesses are pivoting, too

They’re adapting to help their communities — and to stay alive in a challenging economy.

Here’s how a few of them have pivoted:

Have you seen other small businesses adapt in interesting or inspiring ways? Share them with us here. We’ll update our list as we go.

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