2020 has been a tough year for everyone. To find new success on the other side of this crisis, we must work together.
Mustafa Nuur was born in Somalia but fled after terrorists killed his entrepreneurial father. He eventually settled in Lancaster, Pa., where he launched a startup called Bridge. It hosts cross-cultural experiences — dinners, gatherings, and so on — so that immigrants, refugees, and locals can better understand each other. “There’s nothing that can replace sitting across from someone who’s different from you and hearing their story,” he tells me.
But something would have to replace it, of course. When COVID-19 swept through America, sitting across from someone wasn’t an option. Nuur was scared. Then he had an idea. The immigrants and refugees he works with could become essential workers, helping homebound residents. For example, he has a Syrian refugee family who, just days before the lockdown, hosted a dinner in their home. One attendee was an elderly woman who lives alone. When the lockdown began, the family began delivering this woman’s groceries, running her errands, and calling daily at 6 p.m. to check in.
“It really made me think about how life should be every day,” Nuur says. “We should be having these relationships.”
I agree. And I think we can get there.
I have the privilege of meeting many entrepreneurs, which means I also witness their great collective irony. Even during good times, entrepreneurship feels lonely. We have chosen a path of self-determination, which can be maddening and isolating. And yet, here’s the crazy thing: We all deal with the same problems. Everyone has impostor syndrome. Everyone wrestles with management, or finances, or plans gone awry. We are alone together.