From Belgium to Trinidad and Tobago, our members are rapidly reassessing needs and adapting their services to provide young entrepreneurs with the support they need. We share highlights below and will continue to provide updates over the coming weeks.
Across our network, members have moved their training services online. Many are designing new or refocusing existing curricula on topics most relevant to navigating the current crisis, such as scenario planning and negotiating flexible terms with suppliers.
A key challenge for members is the reality that many of the most vulnerable young entrepreneurs they support have limited or no access to the internet. While some members are addressing this by, for example, offering direct support through airtime or data credit, others are exploring alternative approaches to sharing training resources.
Members are seeing demand for mentoring, counselling and advisory services skyrocket as young entrepreneurs struggle to manage high levels of uncertainty and stress. To respond to this, many members have introduced new, rapid response services such as crisis hotlines.
Our members report that despite the mentors, counsellors and advisors they work with being experts in business, not all feel fully equipped to best support young entrepreneurs in the current, challenging situation. To tackle this, many members are developing advanced training in key topics such as risk management and managing stress and uncertainty.
With typically limited savings, many young entrepreneurs running small businesses need immediate financial support to survive. In response, members across our network are introducing emergency measures and/or signposting other available support.
Many members are raising concerns that the financial support available for the smaller businesses they support is just not enough. As Corporación Minuto de Dios in Colombia reports, in the face of this, young entrepreneurs from very low-income communities are considering selling the equipment their businesses depend on to meet basic needs.
The pandemic is a new challenge for small businesses and cannot be addressed by a single organisation alone. Across our network, members are building partnerships with governments, the private sector, funders and other implementing organisations.
Our members report that the current crisis is quickly opening up new and unexpected opportunities for collaboration. Coordinated action through these cross-sector partnerships will be critical to ensuring that young entrepreneurs get the support they need – not just to survive the immediate crisis but for the long road to recovery that lies ahead.
Read more about the different initiatives we have launched to support entrepreneurs during the COVID-19 crisis.