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COVID-19 Rapid Response and Recovery Programme supported by Google.org

YBI’s emergency response programme to support micro, small and medium businesses in 31 countries across Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia-Pacific through the COVID-19 crisis.

COVID-19 Rapid Response and Recovery Programme supported by Google.org

Youth Business International (YBI) is leading a rapid response programme, supported by Google.org, to back underserved micro, small and medium-sized businesses, sustain livelihoods and support communities across 31 countries in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia-Pacific through the COVID-19 crisis.

Programme Overview

The global economy is suffering from an unprecedented shock as a result of COVID-19. With typically tight margins, micro, small and medium businesses are particularly vulnerable to the current economic downturn. Many business owners are struggling to keep their businesses open and support themselves and their families. They need urgent support to ease the immediate impact of the crisis and recover in the long term.

As a global network of enterprise service organisations, YBI is uniquely placed to support business owners during these challenging times. Our members and delivery partners will implement a holistic package of emergency support, reaching over 200,000 underserved micro, small and medium businesses in 31 countries across Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia-Pacific.

The programme will operate in: Belgium, Croatia, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, United Kingdom, Australia, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Myanmar, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam, Egypt, and Israel.

The Rapid Response and Recovery programme will focus on the most affected business owners, particularly underserved business owners including young people (aged 18-35 years), women, and refugees and other migrants

Programme Structure

The programme has two key components: 

  • Design and implementation of country-level response services: business owners will be provided with a holistic package of emergency support, including crisis helplines, targeted advice and signposting, and online training through webinars and mentoring;
  • Regional collaboration and cooperation: active regional communities of practice will be developed to enable enterprise support organisations to connect, learn, innovate and share best practices on how to support micro, small and medium businesses before, during and after the peak of the COVID-19 crisis.

The programme will support small business owners like Chaima Doya, a young entrepreneur in France whose sewing business stopped overnight when the country went into lockdown, leaving her unable to make loan repayments. Now, she has pivoted to making free face masks for nursing staff, supported by YBI’s member in France, Adie. From signposting government support to advising her on how to run a business in isolation and how to resume it once the crisis is over, Adie has been there every step of the way. As Chaima says, “Adie has fully supported me. From the first week of isolation, when my adviser Cécile called to offer to extend the terms of my loan. It touched me that she offered help.”

Confirmed members and delivery partners are:

Brian Founder of Pokeguide Hong Kong

“People are staying at home during the COVID-19 crisis and that decreases the use of our app, which helps wheelchair users and visually impaired people to move around cities. But we think this is fine because staying safe is more important. We’re looking at ways to adapt our services to make them useful during these times.”

Khurshida Owner of Retro Colors boutique Bangladesh

“I am proud to be an entrepreneur but now I am very afraid. I have never seen anything like the COVID-19 pandemic. All my networks have been broken. I don’t know how I will survive or how to support my workers in this situation. I need some guidance on alternative ways to run my enterprise and regain my confidence ”

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