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3 Examples of Free Enterprise at Work to Combat Coronavirus

Gabriella Hoffman
by Gabriella Hoffman Read Profile arrow_right_alt

There are many businesses who’ve ceased operation of regular products and joined the fight to combat the novel coronavirus. Even better: they are giving back to those in need, or supplying first responders and healthcare workers with essential attire and gear.

Many companies have produced masks, ventilators, hospital gowns, gloves, and other essential medical items that are desperately needed.

Some people believe the economic downturn and shortcomings in healthcare can be solved by adopting more centrally-planned governmental policies to stop the bleeding. That is wrong-headed and not the path we should go on.

Instead, the engine of free enterprise must continue to be unleashed.

I recently profiled Black Rifle Coffee Company’s efforts but wanted to highlight a few other businesses or efforts helping in unique ways.

Here are my three picks:

Simms Fishing Products

Popular fly-fishing gear and equipment company Simms Fishing Products announced they are converting their operations to make medical gowns in wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

On Twitter, the Montana-based company said: “On behalf of Simms, we are thrilled to join the fight against COVID-19 with Bozeman-made medical gowns. Thanks to all who are stepping up to help in this time of need. #FishOn#FishItWell#SimmsFishing.”

According to Fly Fisherman, Simms is collaborating with Bozeman Health Group. Here’s more on the collaboration:

As soon as the coronavirus pandemic began to escalate in the U.S., members from Simms’ leadership team partnered with Bozeman Health Group to identify opportunities for Simms to help. With many other local businesses and individuals already hard at work producing masks, Simms shifted its focus to design, develop, and begin manufacturing medical gowns for hospital personnel and staff.

Simms’ product team completed an inventory of on-site fabric and identified a technical 3-layer waterproof, breathable material that meets the requirements agreed upon with hospital officials. With the fabric on hand, Simms was able to produce and deliver gowns to Bozeman Health Group the same week they began production. Simms anticipates additional demand for protective gowns from other medical providers and is actively communicating their capabilities in an effort to maximize their impact.

Virginia 30 Day Fund

If you live here in Virginia and operate a small business awaiting relief from the CARES Act, there’s a newly-created fund you can apply for. It was launched by Peter Synder, a 2013 Virginia lieutenant governor candidate and entrepreneur, and his wife, Burson.

According to the VA 30-Day Fund website, the fund aims to “help save as many Virginia jobs as possible while small businesses await recently approved federal funding.”

The website adds, “The funds dispersed to small businesses by the Virginia 30 Day fund do not need to be repaid. If businesses who receive the Fund’s assistance do, at a later date, wish to “pay it forward” to another Virginia small business in need of assistance, they may do so by directing those dollars back to the Fund, which will disburse the funding to another Virginia business in need.”

In order to quality, applicants must be current residents, employ three to 30 people, and be based in the Commonwealth and have operated for over a year.

In a Facebook post, Snyder explained why he launched the VA 30 Day Fund.

“I’ve had the opportunity to launch a lot of businesses and efforts over the years but never have I been more hopeful than I am about this one,” he said. “Together with the help of so many generous business and philanthropic leaders across the Commonwealth, Burson Snyder and I launched The Virginia 30 Day Fund https://va30dayfund.com.”

He added, “Our goal is to save at-risk VA-based small business and jobs RIGHT NOW in the critical next few weeks before Fed 💵 arrives.”

Qualifying business will receive loans of up to $3,000. Check out and apply for the fund here.

WSI Sports

WSI Sports, a Minnesota-based company, has converted regular operations to mass manufacture protective masks among many items. The company manufactures all their products in the USA, and is known for designing high-end athletic wear for Olympians and NFL players.

In addition to protective masks, WSI Sports is producing more items for healthcare workers and fight responders combatting COVID-19. Founder Joel Wiens told Twin Cities Pioneer Press the company hopes to produce 1,000 masks daily. Other items include:

…the Eagan-based manufacturer of warming and moisture-wicking clothing for professional athletes and outdoor enthusiasts switched its focus to supply protective masks, scrubs, surgical gowns and shoe and head covers to first responders and healthcare workers.

Those who aren’t healthcare workers or first responders can purchase masks too. Youth 3-pack masks are going for $23.50, while adult 6-packs are going for $47.50.

What causes or businesses are stepping up in big ways to combat COVID-19 that deserve coverage? Let us at The Resurgent know and we’ll do our best to profile them.

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