Year 2020 proved to be very different from any predictions. Although there has been a number of pandemics throughout the human history, only the emergence of the latest, COVID-19, can be labelled as a Black Swan. The virus itself was not rare or unpredictable but its impact was – for the first time the interconnected world came to a halt at the same time. Global networks froze and the entire world stayed at home, due to the measures taken in response to the COVID-19.

The enforcement of social distancing, lockdowns and restrictions on mobility of people had immediate effects on the society, such as increase of online shopping, social media use and teleconferencing. International travel bans affected over 90 per cent of the world population and with widespread restrictions on public events, tourism more or less ceased. Almost overnight, the globally-connected world turned into a stay-at-home economy, and it is likely that restarting mobility – particularly nonessential movements – will be challenging and we will be experiencing a period of lower mobility for years (Benton, 2020).

What next? The global business environment has been volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous for quite some time and different anti-globalization tendencies have gained momentum aside global networkedness and interdependencies. However, compared to financial-based crises, the economic crisis due to the coronavirus is fundamentally different. One of the key differences is its focus on individual. Therefore, when experts say that the society returns to a “new normal”, they refer to the change that happens at the grassroots level. Additionally, on the individual level, each individual experiences crises and vulnerabilities differently and the length of crises and thereof their influence varies individually.

Recovering from the external shock due to the pandemic will be particularly demanding for cosmopolitan entrepreneurs. The global lockdown and stay-at-home economy confront the core values of cosmopolitans and jeopardises the identity and life style they cherish. With our interview-based research, we shed light on how COVID-19 has changed the lives of Finnish-born cosmopolitan entrepreneurs, discussing what they feel about the changes and how they see their future. Our findings indicate that after the emergence of the pandemic, these cosmopolitans may not be as open to opportunities as before. Link to the article on the journal website:

Professor Niina Nummela