The Startups 100 COVID Champions

Extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures, and a few of this year’s Startups 100 contingent have responded to the coronavirus crisis by going the extra mile

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The coronavirus outbreak, and subsequent lockdown, posed an enormous challenge to the UK business community. With shops forced to close and staff placed on furlough or having to be let go, it’s hugely inspiring how so many companies have reacted in the best way possible, allocating resources and working hard to help those most impacted by the crisis.

Trouva – a vital lifeline for small retailers

Trouva, no. 1 in this year’s list, was a crucial source of support for the boutique retailers it works with, both across Europe and in the UK. To ensure that these businesses could keep trading, Trouva worked hard to help its retailer partners ramp up their online sales. It even helped with the physical shifting of inventory from bricks and mortar stores to warehouses, or even the home of the owner. After previously experiencing lockdown with its Italian partner stores, Trouva was ideally placed to support its UK partners, and helped 75% of them to keep trading during the crisis.

Cera Care – supporting the nation with care worker recruitment

Cera Care, a rapidly growing provider of care workers, quickly recognised that it had a hugely important role to play during the pandemic. To meet what it described as unprecedented demand, Cera Care launched a programme to recruit and train 10,000 new staff, not only helping those in desperate need of assistance, but also giving new opportunities to gig workers and those who lost their jobs as a result of COVID-19.

Handi – a key antiviral weapon

Handi was founded in direct response to the coronavirus crisis, and pioneered tech that meant the UK could disinfect its hands without even needing to touch the dispenser. The company’s British-made sanitiser formula is a certified COVID-19 antiviral formula that contains no alcohol. This means it’s non-flammable, and can be manufactured more cheaply than sanitisers containing alcohol. As well as supplying its cutting-edge dispensers across the UK, Handi has pledged to donate 10% of its annual profits to charities affected by the coronavirus crisis.

The GP Service – protecting doctors and giving patients expert advice in their homes

The GP Service, a company that enables patients to see a GP via video call, was another company that saw demand spike during the pandemic. With the platform adopted by clinics and GP services throughout the UK, The GP Service was officially recognised for the assistance it provided to the NHS during the coronavirus crisis. It was also incorporated into the NHS framework, and enabled GPs to keep giving expert advice while minimising the risk of being exposed to the virus.

Heather Wellbeing – helping NHS staff to manage their mental health

Recognising that NHS frontline staff were being pressured and challenged like never before, Heather Wellbeing, a provider of virtual therapy services for individuals and businesses, made a huge commitment. It rapidly set up an initiative to provide £1.7m of mental health support for free to NHS frontline staff, with this provided through virtual sessions with qualified and experienced therapists. This service was built from scratch, and was approved as an official nationwide support service by the NHS within two weeks. As the coronavirus crisis continues, Heather Wellbeing is supporting hundreds of NHS frontline staff as they deal with traumatic, frightening, and stressful scenes on a daily basis.

While these companies have played particularly important roles during the coronavirus crisis, they are far from alone. Find more COVID champions in the full Startups 100 2020 list.

Written by:
Alec is Startups’ resident expert on politics and finance. He’s provided live updates on the budget, written guides on investing and property development, and demystified topics like corporation tax, accounting software, and invoice discounting. Before joining, he worked in the media for over a decade, conducting media analysis at Kantar Media and YouGov, and writing a wide variety of freelance pieces.
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