The pandemic has made this year challenging for all of us. For self-employed professionals and small business owners, it continues to get more difficult every day. Uncertainty, loss of clients, financial responsibility, lack of guidance and simple peer-to-peer support -- mean that their entrepreneurial ventures may not make it through 2020.

To help small businesses and self-employed professionals overcome the challenges of the pandemic and reactivate the economy, in May 2020 we launched the Lockdown Economy. It is a global non-profit grassroots social-economic and educational movement. The United Nations has recognized it as an Acceleration Action for the Sustainable Development Goals.

Entrepreneurs get a forum to share their struggles, successes, and experiences of dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, learn from each other. Through the Lockdown Economy, they have a way to connect with a wider community of entrepreneurs. We interview small businesses and self-employed professionals around the world to see how the lockdown affected their business, their market and their future.

University students are using Lockdown Economy stories as real-time educational materials. Through the lessons across multiple countries on several continents, they get a comprehensive overview of how one can proceed with entrepreneurship in the new world. Students have a chance to connect with the small business owners from the other side of the planet and prepare for the new economy.

This initiative is grassroots because we did not wait for anyone to sponsor us. We just started doing what we could. Right now it runs on the money two co-founders saved from their corporate jobs. All the work is done by us and volunteers. We do not charge entrepreneurs for telling their story or the knowledge we share. We are actively looking for funding.

Think Tank AlterContacts supports the Sustainable Development Goals

Watch all the interviews of the Lockdown Economy on our YouTube Channel.

Our next big step is to create and develop learning and training materials based on the Lockdown Economy to prepare entrepreneurs and students to pandemic and post-pandemic changes and enable building the new green, digital and sustainable economy. It will be done "by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs" in micro-modules that they can cover in a couple of hours depending on what problem they have.

Click on the flag to see the local interviews

"We need to act as a global community in order to come out of the crisis stronger, more resilient and sustainable. This means breaking down barriers, sharing best practices and inspiring big ideas.”

Kristin Schreiber, Director for SME Policy at the European Commission’s Directorate General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs

Watch all the interviews of the Lockdown Economy by country here.

It’s not just an interview...

This year we saw that even the best economic forecasts cannot predict the future. And even now, governments continue to use average numbers to plan how the economy will go forward. But we want to find out the real stories behind those “averages”.

Behind every small business, there is a story. A personal story of following your dreams, of continuing the family profession, of moving to a new country with no support network, of being let go of the job and still trying to make it on your own, of doing something on a small scale that would be useful for your neighbourhood, of introducing back the simple and sustainable practices. A personal story of care and passion for your family, your community and the world.

Through the Lockdown Economy, we discover and bring the attention to the specific needs of micro- and small- businesses, we facilitate social dialogue to face the COVID-19 pandemic together.

For each story our team of volunteers is preparing:

  • Livestream and interaction with the audience on Facebook

  • Video recording on Youtube with time codes to navigate the content

  • Podcast on and other key platforms

  • Written version on Medium and translation in subtitles

  • Article with reflections on and The Helm

  • Short video-extract with the main lessons for Academy

  • Promotion on our social media and use on university programs

  • Connection to entrepreneurs and students

  • Follow-up interview and documented contribution to the SDGs.


To receive updates about the Lockdown Economy, subscribe to the monthly newsletter.

About Organizer

The initiator and leader of the Lockdown Economy is Julia Skupchenko. She is the co-founder of Think Tank AlterContacts and an award-winning entrepreneur and innovator.

The think tank plays the role of integrator, connecting entrepreneurs and facilitating the social innovation involving partners from various industries, sectors and countries. We have a wide network of experts and connections in the entrepreneurial and academic world. We are based in the European Union that has a mandate of supporting small business; one of the best countries for modern entrepreneurship, the Netherlands; and one of the most well-known startup ecosystems, Amsterdam.


Read all the interviews of the Lockdown Economy on our Medium Channel

Lockdown Economy Pitch Deck.pdf


  • Launched on 24 May 2020

  • Registered by the United Nations as Acceleration Action for SDGs #36773

  • Over 50 micro and small businesses from 15 countries and 4 continents featured in video-interviews. Many with subtitles, translations and a written version. Available as podcasts at

  • Over 7K views of the interviews.

  • Over 20K people reached through our social channels.

  • Over 16 volunteers from 10 countries, women and men, young (20) and mature (53) with different educational backgrounds.

  • Launched local editions of the initiative in local languages in Mexico, Romania, Spain, Argentina, Nepal, Netherlands. Preparing for launch in France, Germany, Bangladesh, Kenya, India.

  • 18 MBA students and 5 featured businesses participated in the pilot of the Lockdown Economy Academy with the Anahuac Mayab University (Mexico) from 31 July till 15 August

  • A series of mini video-classes for entrepreneurs (from interviews) started 25 July

  • Online course on Entrepreneurship during the lockdown and pandemic will be designed and published from Aug-Oct 2020

To receive updates about the Lockdown Economy, subscribe to the monthly newsletter.

Follow us and Connect!