"COVID-19 has taken a painful toll on numerous aspects of society, including the small and growing business sector. To restrain the spread of the virus, governments in many countries introduced lockdowns, social distancing, and mandatory shutdowns. However, those measures interrupted many commercial activities worldwide, causing major economic disruption.
Although the pandemic necessitated the transition to virtual program delivery, the experience allowed stakeholders in the entrepreneurial ecosystem to discover the benefits and limitations of virtual support. Now that lockdowns have largely ended and economic activity is recovering, support organizations need to decide whether to continue with virtual entrepreneurial support, revert to in-person mode, or adopt a hybrid approach to retain the benefits of both virtual and in-person programming. To understand the effectiveness of virtual support and to synthesize lessons learned during this forced experimentation period, ANDE used surveys and interviews to gather perspectives from both entrepreneurs and intermediaries on what worked - and what did not - in the shift to virtual programming."