The year 2020 will go down as a challenging and sometimes heartbreaking year for many of us. The shock of COVID-19 along with the loss of life, liberty and ability to pursue happiness hit us all. We watched demonstrations, riots, crime surges, geopolitical unrest and uncertainty, ugly politics and rampant selfishness.
Some have been filled with fear, concern, anger and even hopelessness. Yet, we Americans are a hardy people who tend to quickly forget history. We have experienced crises many times and we keep bouncing back better than before.
Consider the period following the global flu pandemic of the late 1910s. The following decade was dubbed the Roaring ’20s due to the United States’ seeing the greatest economic expansion in human history.
The Greatest Generation, the oldest of whom were children during the flu pandemic and World War I, also dealt with the Great Depression and World War II. Along the way they started myriad businesses that brought even-higher levels of prosperity to our nation.
The Greatest Generation also fought the Korean War and found ways to recover from the energy shocks and the high inflation of the ’70s. Later, as new generations picked up their torch, Americans found new ways to prosper after the Rust Belt recessions, the dot com bust of the early 2000s, 9/ 11 and the Great Recession a decade ago.
I firmly believe a new round of entrepreneurship and prosperity awaits the U.S. as the COVID virus is beaten into retreat and our ingenuity is unleashed once again. Each of us can decide how to set the pace and create opportunities for ourselves and those who follow us.
So where do we go from here?
Indiana has an extraordinary opportunity to think big as we make the short-term strategic cuts necessary as we come out of the financial hit we have taken as a state due to COVID19.
However, let’s also play offense. The greater resilience, character and perseverance we’ve gained from the pandemic can be used to our advantage.
Let’s invest in the opportunity to leapfrog other states with a bold vision. Like a hockey player skating toward where the puck is going to be, let’s skate to where business will be 20 to 30 years from now. Let’s develop shrewd plans to position Indiana to win by creating the right environment to not only attract the businesses and industries of the future, but also to strongly encourage entrepreneurs and investors to take risk to build them right here.
One of the great things about living in this country is our freedom to choose attitudes, careers, education and futures. Anyone with a work ethic, some form of higher education certificate or degree and desire to succeed, can!
We all have a choice. We can stay discouraged, angry, or fearful of the future or we can choose determination, kindness and vision. The latter is what other generations have done before us. Let’s similarly shape our futures and leapfrog other states.
LaMothe is CEO of Elevate Ventures, a private not-for-profit that mentors entrepreneurs and invests Indiana 21st Century funding in high-potential startup companies.