YBI rolls out COVID-19 Rapid Response and Recovery Programme funded by Google.org to support struggling small businesses

Youth Business International (YBI) has been awarded a US$5 million grant by Google.org to support over 200,000 underserved micro, small and medium businesses in 32 countries to respond to the COVID-19 crisis.

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 economic downturn. The current pandemic is having a serious impact on these businesses, many are struggling to get through the crisis and need support now. 

We are delighted to announce that we will deliver a Rapid Response and Recovery Programme, funded by Google.org, to back underserved micro, small and medium-sized businesses, sustain livelihoods and support communities.

One such business is run by 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.”

Our global network of members and delivery partners will implement a holistic package of emergency support, including crisis helplines, targeted advice and signposting, training, mentoring and webinars. Google employees plan to volunteer their time to share their knowledge and expertise, helping business owners to upskill and adapt to the challenges they are facing.

The programme will be implemented in 32 countries across Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia-Pacific. It 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.

Anita Tiessen, CEO of Youth Business International, said:

“The world is changing dramatically from day to day and I feel deeply for business owners everywhere, especially those running smaller businesses who are often least able to bear the economic shocks of this crisis. In the face of these challenges, I have been incredibly inspired by the quick response of our network to support business owners around the world. YBI and Google.org’s new commitment will help us sustain and extend this support throughout 2020, ensuring over 200,000 businesses get the support they need right now to navigate this crisis.” 

Rowan Barnett, Head of Google.org in EMEA and APAC:

“The coronavirus outbreak is taking a devastating toll on lives and communities, and small businesses are facing unprecedented challenges as they struggle to stay afloat. With this grant to Youth Business International, alongside a series of Google initiatives and products, we hope to help some of the most vulnerable small businesses find a way through the crisis.”

Find out more about the programme and the participating members and delivery partners here.

Read more about the different initiatives we have launched to support entrepreneurs during the COVID-19 crisis.

Download the press release.


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