Creating Opportunity – Hurricane IRMA Drives Entrepreneurism

Creating Opportunity – Hurricane IRMA Drives Entrepreneurism

Creating Opportunity
Hurricane IRMA
Drives Entrepreneurism

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❏ Today I’m speaking on Creating Opportunity – Hurricane IRMA Drives Entrepreneurism. This week you’ll learn how a natural disaster like hurricanes, floods, tornados, and earthquakes can create huge entrepreneurial opportunities! Want to learn how? Let’s get started!

One of my responsibilities as an Executive Coach is helping founders advance from the Idea Stage to the Build Stage. This last week saw the largest evacuation of USA citizens ever. More than 6.3M Floridians (Link) alone were ordered to evacuate.

Some estimated more than 8M left their homes as hurricane IRMA demolished some Caribbean islands, then struck the Florida Keys (Link) leaving a wake of destruction. Parts of Miami’s downtown district (Link) was under several feet of water as the storm took a hard right.

It headed up the gulf side of Florida coming ashore in Naples FL (Link) as a category four hurricane packing 142 mph winds. In this post OpportunityHurricane IRMA Creates Entrepreneurs, I address entrepreneurial opportunities that a disaster offers. This post will focus on the “Idea Stage” of starting a business.

Creating Opportunity: Why Destruction Drives Entrepreneurism

When something is severely damaged or destroyed, you have the opportunity to replace it with something better. If your TV falls over and breaks, you’ll likely buy a new TV. Will you replace it with the same TV you had before? Not likely unless you had purchased your TV within the last few months.


Technology marches forward. If that TV you own is more than 12 months old isn’t even manufactured anymore. The same is true of infrastructure. The island of Barbuda had over 95% (Link) of its structures destroyed by category five hurricane Irma. No power, no water, no houses, no building escaped Irma’s wrath. For the first time in 300 years, the island evacuated.

The island of Barbuda is in what many would call a “clean slate” stage of development after Irma. Its residents have a choice. The island’s infrastructure had a hodgepodge of electrical, water, sewer and building technology built up over more than a century. They can take this time to rethink “how” to “redesign” all of the infrastructures. They can decide to rebuild the island into one that can easily withstand another Category 5 hurricane like Irma. Or, they can slap something together quickly and see it smashed by the next Irma.

What are the Entrepreneurial Opportunities?

Just about everything. Start with Building codes. Review and change them immediately.

  • All structures must be required to be constructed above flood stage.
  • Allow only reinforced concrete structures for homes and business.
  • Require hurricane windows and shutters.
  • Demand roofing materials and roof designs that will survive 100% intact a category five hurricane.
  • Require all underground, waterproof electrical power.
  • Demand all power substations to be built 10 feet above a high tide 20-foot storm surge.
  • Require all hospitals and retirement communities to have emergency generators and fuel to last seven days.
  • Give credits for homes and business that install solar power and batteries for “off the grid” power.
  • Build smart high technology seawalls and harbors.

The above is just a partial list. I hope this has got your entrepreneurial juices flowing. Thatch huts may look “authentic” but will they survive a category five hurricane? Do you have the design for one that could and still looks “native”?

Won’t this Cost a Lot of Money?

Yes, but the additional costs will pay for themselves in a single storm. If Barbuda and the other islands and Florida communities don’t “rebuild smartly,” the next storm could wipe out the rebuild again. Also, the ability to restart the tourism business within hours of a significant hurricane is critical for cash flow. I live in Tampa FL, and I can tell you that the general impression is that most of the Caribbean and Florida Keys won’t be a viable tourist spot for 6+ months (Link). In some cases perhaps years. The loss to the cruise ship business alone could likely reach into the billions.


I hope this article, Creating Opportunity – Hurricane IRMA Drives Entrepreneurism, I have convinced you with destruction comes opportunity! Hurricane Irma that ravaged the Caribbean, Florida Keys and Florida have created many new entrepreneurs. The challenge for all entrepreneurs out there is to get involved and help. Help by volunteering. Help by bringing your talents to these locations so that we don’t see a repeat of Irma’s destruction. If nothing else, help by giving cash to the Red Cross and similar organizations with boots on the ground.

If you want more articles like this, please “Like” or “Heart” me.” Thank you!

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