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It’s no secret that the current pandemic has had an impact on just about everyone, from startups to SMEs, to big corporations and even governments.

As a startup which focuses on serving students life outside university, we’ve also been affected by the pandemic. Reduced outings due to the lockdown meant a reduction to the value provided to users.

The need to pivot ultimately arises and incorporating more digital elements into your startup becomes a rushed must. For us, as a B2C focused startup, it was diving deep into utilizing partnerships with online merchants to uplift our value to students. Especially Bahrain-based merchants to ensure that not only do we benefit our end-users, but also support our fellow local-Bahraini businesses during this time.

The pandemic has also unveiled an aspect of reality that’s been partially forgotten: we’re all going through it together, and having meaningful startups and businesses is just as important as having profitable ones. The human element is paramount, and any startup that comes to being should serve it, not the other way around. We’ve seen this re-shift in focus happen massively on both local and global levels, with founders coming up with different ways to reach their end-users or customers to ultimately help them make the best out of this challenging time.

The power of human connection is irreplaceable and now, more than ever, we’re realizing how much we have taken it for granted. From a business perspective, the same is true. In our case, one thing we were doing pre-pandemic was physically visiting universities to talk to students and better understand their needs – that was 10x more effective than any survey or poll we’ve done, simply because we were personally talking with the students.

We decided to make sure that we’re still connected with our end-users – albeit without the physical presence – by calling the students directly and connecting with them, on a human level.

Ali Al-Alawi

Ali Al-Alawi

Co-founder of Unipal with a drive to create positive communal change. I fill my spare time with hiking, sports & books.