CHAPEL HILL — In the midst of fear, uncertainty and doubt, early-stage startups are looking for some guidance during this pandemic.

And thankfully, many are finding it.

For the past month, roughly 100 entrepreneurs have turned up for UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School’s The Entrepreneurship Center online education series, “Navigating the Great Pause.”

Such is the demand that the center has decided to extend the series until May 21.

“One of the things that we need right now is that community aspect to support us,” said Vickie Gibbs, its executive director. “There’s no entrepreneur that has been successful by themselves. They get there with community.”

This week, the discussion is focused on how to operate effectively in the new normal – with input from experts in marketing, social media, client services and sales.

“It’s super important for the community to come together and help each other – first, on how to navigate and answer questions, but also just be a sounding board, whether it’s how to handle child care and online education, to balancing priorities, to just being patient with each other,” said Gibbs.

Words matter, she added, that’s why organizers decided to call this series “navigating the great pause,” as opposed to “crisis,” which has a negative connotation.

“The first thing you really need to do is create common stabilization,” she said. “It is really about pause. There are a lot of things that are just on timeout right now. Once we have an idea of what that timeline is when we start to come out, then we can start planning for the big reboot, which will be what’s on the other side.”

In the coming weeks, the series will tackle that issue, along with how to consider pivoting in the wake of COVID-19. It will also hold interactive small group conversations led by experts.

UNC’s Entrepreneurship Center offers online series on how to navigate the ‘great pause’ of COVID-19