Daily Management Review

New Survey Shows Small And Medium Businesses Hardest Hit By Pandemic


A recent survey by the International Trade Centre (ITC) released this week has warned that the lockdowns and restrictions on businesses imposed by various governments all across the world in order to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus pandemic has hit the small and mid-sized businesses all around the world the hardest.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has been both a health and an economic crisis and has presented a number of challenges for SMEs and global supply chains. ITC's 2020 SME Competitive Outlook report analyses the impact of COVID-19 on SMEs, international supply chains and trade while highlighting actions to build the resilience of SMEs given that they will continue to be lightning rods for future growth and to meet the Sustainable Global Goals,” said ITC acting Executive Director Dorothy Tembo.
“The report provides a guide for businesses, policymakers and business support organizations on how to deploy post-pandemic recovery strategies. It aims to help SME ecosystems weather the crisis and gear up for the new normal, emphasizing the need for resilient, sustainable and inclusive trade and leadership,” Tembo said.
The survey based report also noted that about one fifth of the owners of such small and medium scale businesses said that they face the risk of a permanent closure of their businesses within the next three months.
“The lockdown has led to major revenue drops for most and the survival of many is at stake,” the 176-page report released by the Geneva-based ITC, a joint agency of the United Nations and the World Trade Organization.
The survey was conducted by the agency to make an assessment of the impact of the pandemic on global businesses through a survey that included thousands of companies from 132 countries. The survey was conducted between April and June this year when large parts of the business world were hit by national and regional lockdowns and stay at home orders for people.
The survey analysis showed that almost two-thirds of micro and small companies said that they had been “strongly affected” by the impact of lockdowns, in comparison, only 43 per cent of he larger companies said that they were  severely hit by the lockdown.
The survey also showed that a realistic threat of their businesses shutting down permanently within the next three months existed among about one fifth of the small and medium firms (SMEs) that were included in the study.
These findings also indicate the scale of possible unemployment resulting from the pandemic because the biggest employers all across the world are the small and medium scale businesses. 
“With the majority of global employment depending on the health of small and medium sized enterprises, the future of the global economy will very much depend on how SMEs manage to get through, and emerge from, the crisis,” the report said.