How to support MSMEs in a post-pandemic world
Enabling Jordanian and Turkish companies to weather the COVID-19 storm and adapt to the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
The COVID-19 pandemic has done untold damage to micro, small and medium sized enterprises (MSMEs) worldwide. The long-term impacts of which are yet to be properly measured. At the start of the pandemic, we launched an Economic Resilience programme with the Qatar Fund for Development to support MSMEs in Turkey and Jordan to safeguard existing jobs and create new job opportunities.
“The pandemic has left significant anxiety and pressure on businesses; some were in poor financial health and had to lay off many of their staff; others had temporarily closed. Of course, there is no single solution that suits every business,” says Shadi Gammoh, Managing Director of Manafeth, local partner of SPARK in Jordan.
As well as the pandemic, major shifts in the way we work are coming as a result of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. It requires MSMEs to digitise rapidly in order to respond to the increasingly digital needs of users and consumers. The World Economic Forum’s recent report on ‘Upskilling for Shared Prosperity 2021’, urges that significant investment in massive upskilling could boost global gross domestic product by US$6.5 trillion (€5.549 trillion) by 2030, and create 5.3 million new jobs.
In partnership with experts across Turkey and Jordan, SPARK and its local partners target growth-oriented MSMEs and provide capacity building training, coaching and mentorship. Each business receives a customised approach based on a diagnostic analysis of its situation. Some companies receive small grants to begin implementing their growth plans to safeguard any threatened jobs within the company and create new job opportunities in areas like ecommerce, online marketing and sales. So far, the programme has supported 56 businesses in Jordan and 134 in Turkey with small financial grants.
As of July 2021, the programme has supported 160 businesses in Jordan and 195 in Turkey, operating in diverse sectors, including tech, agriculture, education, healthcare, manufacturing, restaurants, retail and tourism. Mafaz, a company established in 2011 specialising in physiotherapy, wanted to expand the business and hire new employees. They had concerns about the turnover rate in Jordan, so they decided to build a retention plan to ensure the new staff working with them. Mafaz’s founder received a customised HR training and created a retention plan with experts. “The coaching sessions I received are different. It will impact Mafaz now and in the future,” says Entesar Askar, Mafaz CEO.
“The coaching programme helps companies think about what is essential and working for each of them. We provided the businesses with professional financial assistance to pivot and redesign their processes to adapt to the pandemic and get back on track,” says Shadi Gammoh.
By investing in tailored innovation, digitalisation, strategic, financial and resources management, the Economic Resilience programme with Qatar Fund for Development is supporting businesses to recover from COVID-19 implications and to grow through opening new opportunities. Additionally, the programme helps businesses to safeguard jobs and to create new job opportunities.