The International Council for Small Business announces the theme and start of the Celebration of and Action for Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises on 27 June

The International Council for Small Business announces the theme and start of the Celebration of and Action for Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises on 27 June

The International Council for Small Business announces the theme and start of the Celebration of and Action for Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises on 27 June

Thursday, June 25, 2020 WASHINGTON (PRWEB)

Celebration of and Action for Micro, Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises

Micro, Small, and Medium-Sized Enterprises (MSMEs) Day are a United Nations Name Day, which was established in 2017. The day, June 27th is meant to demonstrate global support of MSMEs. MSMEs are the most significant contributors to local and global economies. However, they are often much forgotten and oppressed by restrictive policies and unsupported responses in times of need. MSMEs Day seeks to be both a moment of applause for the work that MSMEs do and a moment to gather for future planning to better promote the smaller economic units in the world.

Despite broad support throughout most governments, MSMEs are still in need of much political and regulatory relief that will enhance their narrative and support their establishment and entrepreneurial pursuits. Feeling that it is essential for the principles and best practices for MSMEs to be created in a way that is informed by the MSMEs themselves, the co-collaborators for this year’s MSMEs Day Celebration have themed the event “We Hear You.”

Given the pandemic and economic crisis affecting the global community, this 2020 MSMEs Day is set to stand out from those in the past. The International Council for Small Business, who is responsible for the creation of MSMEs Day posted, “As the pre-existing conditions, which have created disease within the world and for many MSMEs, have become even more announced, we see more clearly the importance of creating action to achieve fair, just, and green economies within our national and international markets.”

The United Nations has engaged recently with many initiatives in support of MSMEs, especially those in conjunction with the 2030 Agenda, highlighting their Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The United Nations has been vocal in their understanding of MSMEs as the keys to success in achieving the SDGs. To demonstrate their support of both MSMEs and organizations that work to uplift MSMEs, like the ICSB, they are participating in MSMEs Day by co-hosting a celebratory event on June 25th. This event is the result of a truly collaborative effort between the Permanent Mission of Argentina to the United Nations, who was the first to engage with ICSB’s request for a Name Day supporting small businesses in 2016, along with the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, and United Nations Industrial Development Organization, and ICSB. The event is meant to stand as a day of celebration to honor the constant work and resilience of MSMEs year long.

Following the celebratory event on June 25th, ICSB will host an MSMEs Day of Action on Saturday, June 27th. Building upon the discussions which began just days prior, the Day of Action plans to center around the tangible and actionable steps that MSMEs and their supporters can take towards building better ecosystems for MSMEs. In light of the recent events, including but not limited to the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent economic crisis, the event will showcase resources for MSMEs worldwide, as well as take time to examine the potential and current opportunities that these events have created.

Coupled with the Name Day, the International Council for Small Business publishes an annual report. This year, the 2020 ICSB Global MSMEs Report will be released on June 25th on the ICSB’s website, http://www.icsb.org. It is the most extended report to date as ICSB received more submissions than ever.

The 2020 Report concludes with a statement from ICSB’s Executive Director, Dr. Ayman El Tarabishy and Deputy Chair of the Department f Management of the GW School of Business, announcing, “In applying ourselves towards creating human-centered relationships, businesses, and policies, we might have a fighting chance at calibrating our world’s systems so that we can live in a place that upholds equity for all first and foremost.”

Please join us for both events. For more information and registration, please visit https://icsb.org/msmedays/.

Washington DC
June 23, 2022

Full Uncertainty That Is Our Certainty

Full Uncertainty That Is Our Certainty

Full Uncertainty That Is Our Certainty

Saturday, June, 20, 2020 By Dr. Ayman El Tarabishy

We need to ensure that the entrepreneurial base grows and that the jobs become more diverse

In acknowledging the global changes due to the unforeseen events over the past few months, Prince Constantijn van Oranje spoke about the societal and economic shifts that have taken place resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. Having been personally and professionally affected, Prince Constantijn holds the unique perspective in seeing both the positive outcomes and painful truths that these past few months have revealed. In responding to the onset of the lockdown and the COVID-19 pandemic, Prince Constantijn and his team immediately saw the need to “pivot” their strategy. Upon the crisis’ onset, they surveyed the startup ecosystem to be able to see clearly and more fully understand the ecosystem’s needs and its views of the perceived economic and financial impact that the pandemic and shut down would likely produce. Thanks to this work, Prince Constantijn and his team were then in a “position to negotiate a loan package with the government for the startup community.” This was an incredible move-in protecting the Netherlands ecosystem as startups are not typically included in government aid packages. Additionally, on an organizational level, the external stressors over the past few months have been a loud and sounding wake up call to “refocus our organizations.”

In recognizing that a change or shift in one city or region can have a butterfly effect and result in significant changes in a completely different place, we need to realize our true globalized and interconnected nature. Prince Constantijn was asked, as a leader of the tech industry, and Tech Leap.NL, specifically, what had initially attracted him to this industry. In his response, Prince Constantijn admitted that scale-up is most likely the toughest part of the business. To be continually fighting and forever entering into new spaces, building a scale-up was, personally, not for him. However, he has found his place working with people that do have this enthusiasm and passion for working to improve the world. He finds it incredibly stimulating to be working with so many who embody a “can do” and, further, will do attitude.

In leading this sector, however, Prince Constantijn van Oranje has seen incredible success as the Netherlands continues to be one of the fastest-growing startup hubs in Europe. More specifically, Winslow Sargeant provided some data to portray the Netherlands’ success, recalling that they are the “#1 developer of capital in Europe, #4 best country for business, and #1 best-connected economy in the world.” When asked to share his best practices or those that he has seen, Prince Constantijn described that the success born out of the Netherlands is thanks to the well-established and built ecosystem in the Netherlands, which has high levels of healthcare, education, widespread bilingualism, higher education, and necessary infrastructure. Besides the work that by the government, the culture amongst Dutch people leads to the constant questioning of authority, which assists in creating a culture of innovation. This, coupled with the number of multilevel international organizations in the Netherlands, the nation began in an excellent position. Being a smaller country with universal broadband capabilities, the Netherlands’ real secret is that the essential “innovation is in the people.” We have seen this exemplified by the way that societies have integrated the technology to change healthcare, education, and work practices because now there is a significant pressure to make these transitions happen.

If innovation truly does originate in the person, and most trends point to its accuracy, then we need to question, “Do startups need governments.” The answer may have changed from before COVID-19 to now. However, we can see that the government does indeed have a role to play. We saw how the virus disproportionately affected those who were already in a vulnerable and disadvantaged state. COVID-19 has shown us that the government has an important role to play in a crisis. Governments work as a type of last resort lender, who must provide specific schemes to ensure that people are paid. However, there is a precise balance to strike in that the government needs to be proactive, while not being too restrictive, to enhance the opportunity for new solutions, founded in a flexible system. Governments, additionally, can have a mindset of innovation and entrepreneurship, which will motivate them to invest in education, research, and innovative development.

If governments genuinely begin investing in funding and encouraging entrepreneurs, we need to think about how this will change national ecosystems, and then, in turn, how it might affect our preconceived ideas or beliefs about globalization. As the movement towards resilient supply chains and autonomy takes form, no one seems to be sure of how this will translate into a globalized system. However, we are confident that companies need to build alternatives to their complex supply chains, which fail in the face of disruption. Even governments that are used to outsourcing all their manufacturing have been unable to access critical equipment. Prince Constantijn points out that we have all become “more aware that the optimization of supply chains has its risks,” therefore, in the future we might see more strategic moves as companies weigh efficiency over the robustness of supply chains.

Resulting from these disruptions, however, individual companies and industries were able to demonstrate incredible resiliency as they pulled together and shifted to produce what was most necessary for society, which not surprisingly equated with what was most essential for humanity. It is entrepreneurship that lives at the heart of these trends of adaptability and innovation. Today, anyone can engage with entrepreneurship. As we see, technology hubs spread throughout the world; startups are popping up in places that have been typically excluded from substantial monetary gains, quality job creation, and decision-making processes in the past. However, now, people can create a business with a simple connection to the internet, which is changing everything.

This movement towards investment in entrepreneurship must come with an investment towards expanding the invitation of those who are typically working within the tech sector. Currently, the tech world is very white and male, therefore, now that more people can engage with this sector, we must be sure to generate the conditions so that the non-white and non-male identities can feel empowered to unleash their potential within this sector. Governments can play an additional role in opening up this conversation and establishing a culture of acceptance, invitation, and equitable policy. Prince Constantijn reflected on these questions asking, “How do we make the tech ecosystem more diverse?” and “Why do certain groups not feel empowered to be entrepreneurs?” Noting the apparent bias also amongst investors, Prince Constantijn continues to ask, “How do we ensure that the entrepreneurial base grows and that the jobs become more diverse?” Betting on diversity “as a force for good,” we can see clearly that our customer base is more diverse, so why not look to represent that diversity, in talent, skill, background, and orientation.

For Prince Constantijn van Oranje, the logic is simple: we must integrate entrepreneurship into our culture. In demystifying the tech sector, we can start to change people’s perceptions to see the opportunity and possible gains that entrepreneurship presents instead of solely the risks. In destigmatizing failure, we might be able to create a vibrant ecosystem, or “set of interrelated actors providing tech, money, talent, and market entry.” As COVID-19 worked as an “incredible triage,” businesses worldwide are deciding whether they want to stay at their size or make a leap forward. For many, that will involve entering the online market, which presents many possibilities. Unfortunately for companies that are not willing to continue forward, many will not survive.

In his closing remarks, Prince Constantijn van Oranje states that “the only thing you know is that you have full uncertainty, that’s your certainty.” In moving forward, hope is not the solution, but rather it is a mental guide that helps us move forward. In thinking about the approaching MSMEs Day, we can see the wonderful organizations and businesses that have come out of crises, the United Nations presenting as a great example. In his final words, Prince Constantjin reminds us that there will always be people who stand up to make a change, and right now, that change-maker could be anyone.

Thank you, Prince Constantijn van Oranje for your incredible presentation and sharing your time with us. For those interested in watching the full video, check it out below. We look forward to continuing this discussion at the MSMEs Day 2020 June 25th Celebration and June 27th Day of Action.

Restructuring for Resilience: Europe Post COVID-19

Restructuring for Resilience: Europe Post COVID-19

Restructuring for Resilience: Europe Post COVID-19

Monday, June, 15, 2020

Restructuring for Resilience: Europe Post COVID-19

Monday, June, 15, 2020

How can Europe Restructure to overcome COVID-19?

As the peak day approaches on April 19th, Europe begins to look past the immediate health demands to find that the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) that compose their societies are struggling. The continental balance now interacts between the safeguard of the healthcare system and that of the rest of society. Therefore, despite Europe’s push for globalization, the menace of COVID-19 returns each nation to reflect on what is best for their country critically. This has become a moment to rethink our embedded ideals of globalization and sustainability, as well as the values of society and the role of the state within the economy and social life. Europe, being a system of social economy, the group of nation-states, finds itself as the embodiment of responsibility. As a result, personal freedom and human rights, which are typically both guaranteed, suddenly feel at odds. As many changes were demanded in such a short period, we see and feel the support of a stable government that has acted with resilience. However, since the focus of the state is on the immediate physical needs of their nation, there remains an opportunity for change for entrepreneurship and innovation. Therefore, in this time of grief and confusion, we can find excitement and purpose.

Europe, as much of the global community, saw COVID-19 as a Chinese problem. With only the example of the Spanish Flu as a guide for expectations, the continent was shaken when within a couple of weeks, everything changed. Looking at current rates of the coronavirus per national habitats, we notice that China is no longer the hotspot of COVID-19, but rather, Europe is. The exponential development across the continent leads to only one solution: breaking this steep and continuously growing curve. As Europe prepares for its peak dates by creating and distributing more intensive care beds, employing more staff, and reorganizing resources, it seems the race remains against time (Read more…).

A New Type of Professor

A New Type of Professor

A New Type of Professor

Saturday, June 13, 2020, By: Dr. Ayman El Tarabishy

A New Type of Professor

Saturday, June 13, 2020, By: Dr. Ayman El Tarabishy

Our solutions will arrive not only when we attempt to imagine a different perspective for our entrepreneurial research, energy, and outcomes, but when we also find the conviction that these changes are essential and necessary for our continued evolution.

Challenging us to “re-think” everything, Norris Krueger spent time with us on Thursday afternoon instead of his usual time spent generating the next best entrepreneurial theory. Sitting in the “hot seat,” Krueger is considered the Nikola Tesla of entrepreneurship research today. His presentation demanded that we re-think our mindsets, ecosystems, and methods, in addition to re-thinking why we are necessitating this re-think. Our solutions will arrive not only when we attempt to imagine a different perspective for our entrepreneurial research, energy, and outcomes, but when we also find the conviction that these changes are essential and necessary for our continued evolution.

Dictated as the “Great Re-think,” we understand that this is a critical time to concurrently assess the intersections of the macro and micro in the way they align with “entrepreneurial potential and potential entrepreneurs” and reshape our understanding of the notion of “entrepreneur” as a verb in its true action-oriented state.

The journey through re-thinking our mindset in teaching and training, in addition to an assessment of theoretical practices, helps us to recognize the need to create participatory opportunities for theories within the entrepreneurial setting. Following, re-thinking ecosystems must involve the discussion between top-down and bottom-up thinking. Looking to build programs and ecosystems that matter would seem logical, however within the gap between academia and reality, this notion often gets lost. Wanting to recover a lost storytelling program, Krueger spoke about building a hub from which we might promote an accurate and thorough narrative for small business and entrepreneurship worldwide. Lastly, looking to re-think models, Krueger spoke about using appropriate models that allow us to reframe our theories and practice appropriately.

This “Great Re-think” leads us to move beyond thinking to entirely reimagine and recreate universities. In reviewing the teachings of the coronavirus, not only is there an opportunity for universities to change fundamentally, either closing for the weaker universities or becoming more robust and bigger entities for those who can quickly adapt to the new normal; however, there is also the evolution of the professor. It will be derived from this transition in the position of the professor that, then, will create new accessible and more inclusive programs for students, bridging the exclusivity gaps resulting from institutional competition and prestige as well as unspoken priority in accessing innovative and desirable opportunities to learn for younger scholars.

Centering this shift around the professors, we might be able to capture their higher mandate, which guides them to educate as many students as they can. We could demonstrate that the professor holds the potential to behold a following comparable to that of a well-known celebrity. This celebrity status is not meant to generate attention for attention’s sake, but further to create the necessary conditions so that, similar to famous athletes and movie stars, the impact of a professor’s ideas, ideologies, and teachings could impact more students and greater networks. The notion is that professors have an incredible reach in obtaining information. However, they are often blocked in expanding that reach for their finished product. By using this sense of “popularity,” for social good, we can potentially attract the public’s attention by placing the ideas and stances of entrepreneurial professors next to the publications of celebrities like Elon Musk and Bill Gates. We are done with the stale insights from repeated voices, and we are ready to advance towards the future. There are already professors, Norris Krueger, for example, who have a following and are supported by the global organization, like Krueger is by ICSB. Therefore, in creating the opportunity for professors around the world, we can create a real knowledge revolution that works towards inclusion rather than division. This new professor will no longer belong to a school, but rather to him or herself and their followers.

Recognizing that not every student has the opportunity to attend an Ivy League program or travel across the world to participate in a conference, we might be able to seize this technological revolution to expand teaching capabilities to parts of the world where it never previously existed. If we can detach the professor from their established university, we can create a “sharing” program, which seeks to captivate students from multiple schools, programs, and institutions to work together to fund a course. Therefore, instead of one university paying to invite a guest lecturer or various guest lecturers for the semester to teach 100 students in one location, professors can gather the best and most innovative minds to instruct a week-long class. Students attending would be sent by their universities who wish to later reproduce the knowledge and cohesion of the event. Therefore, students would be able to return to their universities to share what they had learned. If the first-class worked with 30 students, then those students would be able to have individual connections with the course’s professors and instructors, which they could share when returning to their universities to connect with another set of students. Additionally, the information from this sort of class, which would typically be unavailable to many students throughout the world, could be captured on a technological platform to be shared with those who do not have the institutional finances to send their students to the course.

The focus of this type of program is twofold. Firstly, it would increase visibility around the higher mandate that professors feel, while moving away from the prestige, power, and rigor of an institution and its constant publication demands. Secondly, within entrepreneurship and learning centers, it could make available the essential understanding and empathy, which is often quite removed from traditional seminar settings. The deep engagement that could potentially arrive from these transitions, away from conventional and established university patterns, would finally make equitable changes in academia. In building a network through action and engagement rather than publication, we might genuinely be able to generate and produce something valuable from our “Great Re-think.”

Norris, please lead the way.

True Equitable Embodiment

True Equitable Embodiment

True Equitable Embodiment

Monday, June, 8, 2020

True Equitable Embodiment

Monday, June, 8, 2020

We are living through a revolution towards cohesion

As protesters line the streets of every major city, I can not help but hear the cry for a just and green economy. All over the world, people are looking at the old and stagnant economic system of the past and recognizing the absence of its place in this new normal. This new normal, instead, invites an economy generated by and for the people, and I see humane entrepreneurs as the leaders of this movement.

We are living through a revolution towards cohesion. If we want to set the groundwork for circular systems of growth that uplift the humanity in each individual involved while working to protect the planet, then we might just create a world in which representation, equity, and empathy come naturally to leaders and followers alike. Currently, we are in the preliminary stages of change (Read more…).

True Equitable Embodiment

True Equitable Embodiment

True Equitable Embodiment

Saturday, June 6, 2020, By: Dr. Ayman El Tarabishy

True Equitable Embodiment

Saturday, June 6, 2020, By: Dr. Ayman El Tarabishy

We are living through a revolution towards cohesion.

As protesters line the streets of every major city, I can not help but hear the cry for a just and green economy. All over the world, people are looking at the old and stagnant economic system of the past and recognizing the absence of its place in this new normal. This new normal, instead, invites an economy generated by and for the people, and I see humane entrepreneurs as the leaders of this movement.

We are living through a revolution towards cohesion. If we want to set the groundwork for circular systems of growth that uplift the humanity in each individual involved while working to protect the planet, then we might just create a world in which representation, equity, and empathy come naturally to leaders and followers alike. Currently, we are in the preliminary stages of change.

The collective world population is waking up to realize that the injustices that established nations can not go unnoticed and unrepaired. If we think for a moment as if a nation was an enterprise and, further, an entrepreneurial enterprise, what rating of Humane Entrepreneurship would the nation receive? If a country (any country) was an enterprise, would it present IDEAL, MODERATE, NEGATIVE, or HARMFUL Humane Entrepreneurship?

Seeing how the leadership and top managers have established cycles of harm that consider the financial profitability of the company over the well-being, enablement, and empowerment of their employees, it would seem that a country can also demonstrate systems of HARMFUL Humane Entrepreneurship. Typically improvements can not be created in or from a HARMFUL enterprise. Therefore, this points to foundational reforms, or the possible shut down of the company, so that it can rebegin from a healthier, more virtuous start. Within the transition from destroying to recreate, we might seek the HumEnt principles of empathy and equity as our guides to ensuring that the new company created does not repeat the same vicious cycles of the past.

We must emphasize that within every structure of society, and therefore including business, “respect for human dignity demands respect for human freedom.” The theory and practice of Humane Entrepreneurship are built around the notion that human capital, and the humanistic aspect, which is part of all of us, has been directly and indirectly forgotten within our societal practices. We seem to have simply omitted the value of each and every individual human, and instead replaced this value with that of economics. Therefore, we have accidentally turned economics into a destroying force for humane endeavors. However, seen over the past years, and represented mainly by micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises, entrepreneurs have refound themselves and their ability to uplift both financial and social capital simultaneously. Coupled with the incredible movement happening around the world today, the world might be able to create enough synergy to start anew.

Within this restart, we can then imagine what we might want to include. Understanding the characteristics of humanistic management, empathy is an essential “driving factor for employee engagement and communicative business culture, leading to a better understanding between organizational members and stakeholders.” Let us, for a moment, reverse the experiment above, now magnifying a business to a nation. If within an enterprise, empathy can significantly enhance engagement and communicative culture, imagine the incredible changes that could arrive on the greater scale of a nation, if and when we all decided to value empathy towards ourselves and one another. As empathy is often thought of as the “starting point of design thinking,” it seems perfectly reasonable that this would be a guiding principle in reimagining and reshaping our new nation.

From empathy, comes a movement towards equity. At the firm-level, equity encompasses the “extent to which a company treats individuals in a fair and equal manner.” This essential component to the work and world culture promotes “a sense of proportion,” agreeing that “the outcomes individuals receive should be awarded in proportion to their inputs and outputs” and understanding that not all individuals are starting in the same place because of embedded covert discrimination. In forming companies and nations that work for equitable solutions, we agree to unearth the past that has created these inequalities and the present that continues to recreate them.

Leaders that manifest the principles of Humane Entrepreneurship will undoubtedly feel more guided than others when system shattering moments come about. Humane Entrepreneurs can quickly adapt to the changes by recognizing their role in searching and working towards a more significant upliftment of the humane aspect of life. It is leaders, such as these, who can understand the opportunities in differences and similarities that will and will continue to build a world made for everyone, one flowing virtuously, greeting growth for all.

We are living through a revolution towards cohesion.

Map of SME-Support Measures in Response to COVID-19

Map of SME-Support Measures in Response to COVID-19

Map of SME-Support Measures in Response to COVID-19

Thursday, June, 4, 2020 By the World Bank Group

This dashboard tracks measures that countries are rolling out in support of MSMEs in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is updated using information from official sources, other international organizations, and the World Bank Group regional teams. It is a living tool that is not exhaustive and has not been subject to standard WBG quality controls. Please send comments to the following email address: tcdata360@worldbank.org

Click Here to View Map

As the pandemic continues, it might be time to upgrade that temporary home office setup

As the pandemic continues, it might be time to upgrade that temporary home office setup

As the pandemic continues, it might be time to upgrade that temporary home office setup

Thursday, June, 4, 2020 By Jura Koncius Washington Post

The past few months of working from dining tables, couches and beds have taken their toll on novice telecommuters. With many of us settling in for the long haul — told to stay home until at least Labor Day or, like some Facebook and Twitter workers, permanently — the makeshift office hacks of the coronavirus shutdown are getting old. America’s backs and necks are suffering.

Realizing this is not as “temporary” a situation as you thought, you might be ready to trade in your metal folding chair for an ergonomic model or treat yourself to a set of new candy-colored Sharpies. Maybe you want to make the spot where you spend your days (and maybe nights) more welcoming and videoconference-friendly. Maybe your employer is even offering a stipend for workers in need of home office improvements.

Designer Young Huh started the pandemic in her Scarsdale, N.Y., home sharing side-by-side desks in a small office with her husband, as their two kids worked in their bedrooms. But her husband’s conference calls were disturbing her concentration. “He makes too much noise. We needed him contained,” she said. She moved to the dining room to work. A butler’s pantry and a bar cart now organize her papers. And she’s added a few frills. “It’s still important to make your workspace look pretty. I put my pens in pretty canisters and put my ear buds in a silver gravy boat,” Huh says.

Many households were unprepared for the entire family’s transition to working from home. “In some homes, there needed to be four or five setups,” says Jeff Miller, vice president of design for Poppin, a line of furniture and desk accessories known for its color and modern vibe. As for Miller’s own New York apartment setup: “I sequestered myself in an extra-small bedroom with just an Eames Aluminum Group chair and a music stand for my laptop,” he says, great for videoconference calls. After the third week, his back hurt. He picked up two Poppin Series A desks, which he arranged next to each other to create two seating areas, which he could share with his wife, who is also working from home, or their 12-year-old son.

When the pandemic hit, designer Loi Thai of Tone on Tone had already converted the garage a few steps from his 1928 home in Silver Spring into a cottagey office. “Since I’m spending so much time here now, I want to be surrounded by things that I love,” Thai says. Instead of standard desk accessories, he uses galvanized garden pots and trays to hold pens and note pads. In lieu of a boring office task lamp, he bought a fun ceramic lamp base with a silvery glaze and a navy ikat-print paper shade from World Market.

Keeping it all together is hard, but organized living beats chaos. Beth Penn, a Los Angeles professional organizer and owner of Bneato Bar, has heard from a number of clients looking for help. “I have gotten calls to talk about productivity. My clients say they aren’t getting as much done as they would like since they are home with all these distractions they are not used to,” Penn says.

Looking for an upgrade of your own? We’ve consulted with design pros who shared some of their home office decorating secrets.

Chairs

You can’t work in bed forever; you need a decent chair that will support your back. But you don’t have to get a hulking black monster on wheels that takes up half your room. The best models are ergonomic and have adjustability in height, lumbar support and arm rests. Choose something that fits with your desk and room, but make sure it’s comfortable.

Penn is a fan of West Elm’s two-toned upholstered office chair ($649). It’s pretty, she says, and keeps your home looking like a home. It’s also cushioned and adjustable for comfort.

Thai picked a streamlined Graham leather desk chair from Crate & Barrel ($349) that has a stylish look and small footprint. “I sit in it all day, so I wanted something comfortable, but not a bulky model,” he says. He took the arms off so it can slide under his desk.

WTO report examines impact of COVID-19 pandemic on small businesses

WTO report examines impact of COVID-19 pandemic on small businesses

WTO report examines impact of COVID-19 pandemic on small businesses

Thursday, June, 4, 2020, Article from The World Trade Organization

 

 

The WTO Secretariat has published an information note looking at how micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) are being affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. It notes the impact of supply chain disruptions on MSMEs and the extent to which smaller businesses are represented in the economic sectors hardest hit by the crisis.

The report notes that supply chain disruptions can have a particularly severe impact on MSMEs because sourcing from new suppliers or absorbing price increases is more challenging for a smaller firm with limited supply options and capital.  

The report looks into a wide range of measures taken by governments to support MSMEs. These include measures to address cash flow issues, to expand trade opportunities for MSMEs and to make them more resilient. According to the report, 44 WTO members had introduced such measures by the end of April 2020.

The note describes how international trade provides MSMEs with opportunities to diversify revenue streams and better navigate the COVID-19 crisis.

It outlines that work at the WTO can support small business by promoting the importance of transparency, facilitating the exchange of best practice, highlighting the need for increased access to trade finance and encouraging full implementation of the WTO’s Trade Facilitation Agreement.

The report can be found here.

Key Points

  • Micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) are the backbone of many economies, representing 95 per cent of all companies worldwide and accounting for 60 per cent of employment. Many MSMEs depend on international trade for their activities, either because they export their products through direct or indirect channels, or because they import inputs to manufacture the products that they sell domestically. They are major employers of women and young people, and a key driver of innovation.
  • MSMEs are particularly exposed to the COVID-19 pandemic’s economic impact because of limited financial resources and borrowing capacity, and because of their disproportionate presence in economic sectors affected by social distancing measures and transport disruptions. MSMEs are also particularly exposed to trade restrictions on agricultural products.
  • Where MSMEs are highly integrated into global value chains (GVCs), supply chain disruptions can create an existential risk for MSME importers and exporters, either because of shortages of necessary parts, or through shocks to demand.
  • The pandemic-related challenges add on to the existing, well-known trade obstacles encountered by MSMEs, and therefore undermine progress towards more inclusive trade.
  • Governments have primarily introduced urgent stimulus and backstop measures for MSMEs, such as liquidity support to address cash flow issues, with the aim of preserving jobs and ensuring business continuity, as well as measures to expand trade opportunities for MSMEs. A few governments have also introduced measures aimed at developing the resilience of MSMEs and building their capacity to overcome future shocks to demand and supply chains.
  • To limit the impact of the current crisis on MSMEs and to build their resilience, it is critical that MSMEs have better access to regulatory and market information and affordable trade finance, as well as to streamlined customs procedures and requirements. Greater use of digital tools and e-commerce would also benefit MSMEs.
  • The WTO can contribute to supporting MSMEs in several ways, such as: through transparency mechanisms in WTO committees and bodies, as well as in the Informal Working Group on MSMEs; through the exchange of good practices in terms of MSME support measures; through full implementation of the Trade Facilitation Agreement; through continued efforts in enhancing access for MSMEs to trade finance; by harnessing transparent, fair and open procurement markets; and by supporting trade digitalization efforts, including through the development of e-commerce rules.