The COVID-19 global outbreak has not only caused a global health emergency but also a global economic slowdown. Trade, investments and employment have taken a big hit. In addition, the lockdown in India, while helping to contain the spread the pandemic, has further impacted the domestic economy. Daily wage workers, low-income households, small and medium businesses have been among the most affected.
Small businesses usually have a cash runway that can last them a few months. But given the fact that small businesses will be among the hardest hit from the economic slowdown brought about by the pandemic’s global and domestic, there is an urgent need to look at how the government and the ecosystem can come together to collectively ideate, develop and implement frameworks and initiatives to help them just survive through the turbulent times but also come out stronger.
While the government is working in this direction and is putting together policies and initiatives to support small and medium businesses and micropreneurs, the challenge at hand is enormous and requires more than just intervention from the state.
“One of the things we have realised in conversations through the last three weeks is that in the midst of this crisis, there are several leaders and organisations ideating and working on solutions, but many of them are working in silos. If we need to really solve the problem, we need to collaborate, create collectives and take solutions at scale,” shared Ravi Venkatesan, Founder, Global Alliance for Mass Entrepreneurship (GAME) during his introductory remark at the GAME webinar on ‘Supporting Small Businesses Beyond COVID-19 Collaboratively.’
The webinar held on April 13 brought together key stakeholders to discuss and deliberate upon how to solve problems for a post-COVID-19 world for small entrepreneurs.
Talking about the scale of the pandemic and the need to initiate discussions on helping businesses survive it, he said, “Not since the World War II, has the world been through a crisis as deep, and as wide and pervasive as what we are going through.” He shared that we could still be in early stages of what is about to unfold, and thereby more uncertainty and more unanswered questions are bound to be on the way. “Based on my conviction and past experiences of crisis, I strongly feel that it is better to assume and plan for the worst, while hoping for the best.”
Given the scale and intensity of the pandemic and its aftermath, he said governments across the world, including India are having a tough challenge at hand as they have to walk the razor’s edge balance between saving lives and livelihood. And, given the fact that the informal sector and small businesses are scattered across the length and breadth of our country, he pointed out the need to voice constructively and collectively.
“We need to capture the voice of small and medium enterprises. We need to speak as one, particularly during the conversations with the government. And, then we need to learn from success stories that are emerging and help each other grow.”
In this introductory talk at the day-long webinar, Ravi sets the context for the need to create entrepreneur support networks, the future opportunities, the need to create collectives and take solutions to scale. Watch now.
"Coming soon: Why experts say it is time to move towards a more collaborative and compassionate way of commerce"
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