The Rapid Response and Recovery Programme, led by Youth Business International (YBI) and funded by Google.org, supports underserved micro, small and medium businesses to respond to the COVID-19 crisis. Berytech has been appointed as a delivery partner of YBI in Lebanon. It will now work with YBI to develop and deliver an urgent package of support to struggling local businesses.
“We are committed to supporting business owners during the COVID-19 pandemic and are excited to be part of YBI’s Rapid Response and Recovery Programme funded by Google.org,” comments Joanna Abi Abdallah, head of Business Development and Support at Berytech.
Struggles in Lebanon
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 vulnerable to economic downturn. The current pandemic is having a particularly serious impact on business owners and entrepreneurs from underserved communities, including young people (aged 18-35 years), women, and refugees and other migrants. Many are struggling to get through the crisis and need support now.
Lebanon is facing a crisis on multiple fronts: hyperinflation, the country’s ongoing political and economic crises, high rate of unemployment, the COVID‑19 that has slowed down businesses as well as the effects of the Beirut blast on businesses in Beirut and Greater Beirut.
Businesses have been particularly affected by the rationing by the banks of US dollars – businesses have no access to US dollars to pay suppliers, purchase goods or perform international transactions; the devaluation of the local currency – the rise in price of goods as Lebanon is highly dependent on imports; the difficulty of conducting international business development and securing new deals due to travel limitations, access to funds, etc.; the inability to secure funding, investment, loans, etc.; and the immigration of local talent and brain drain.
Helping SME’s Build Resilience
For this project, Berytech has developed the Helping SME’s Build Resilience program that will be conducted over 12 months. It will be targeted at SME’s across Lebanon to support them in coping with the numerous crisis situations. The program will cover main modules: Crisis Management, Financial Planning and Digital Marketing & Communication.
The program’s specific activities include training workshops and webinars with expert speakers, talks to help SMEs network and learn from other organizations and build strong connections and partnerships, group practice sessions to support business owners in navigating the crisis and improving their operations, individual coaching and mentorship where selected applicants will be matched with an expert depending on their needs to review specific areas. Berytech works with various experts and matches them with businesses. Berytech will also be working on the improvement of the existing Helpline to better meet the needs of the program, as well as developing an online Directory.
“We are very excited to be able to bring this new opportunity to our community, as it falls well withIn our drive to contribute to the Lebanese entrepreneurial ecosystem and help MSMEs better manage their companies during times of crisis,” explains Abi Abdallah. Indeed, since its inception in 2002, Berytech has supported businesses at different stages: idea stage, startups and SMEs through different programs. Most recently, it has developed a series of crisis management programs for the benefit of Lebanon businesses, with a particular focus on women-led businesses as well as SMEs.
Rapid Response and Recovery program
The global program is led by YBI, an experienced network of enterprise support organisations. It will support over 200,000 small and medium business owners across 32 countries across Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific to respond to and recover from the impact of COVID-19.
This initiative is part of ‘Grow Stronger with Google’, a program to help accelerate the MENA region’s economic recovery by offering digital tools, training and financial grants to support local businesses and job seekers.
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 and are from underserved communities, 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, with Google.org’s new funding commitment, will help us sustain and extend this support throughout 2020-2021, ensuring more than 200,000 businesses can get the advice they need right now to navigate this crisis.”
Rowan Barnett, Head of Google.org, EMEA & APAC, said: “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.”
Learn more about Berytech’s Helping SME’s Build Resilience program part of YBI’s Rapid Response and Recovery Programme funded by Google.org: https://berytech.org/programs/helping-smes-build-resilience-program/
Youth Business International (YBI)
YBI is a global network of expert organisations in over 50 countries supporting underserved young people to turn their ideas into successful businesses, creating jobs and strengthening communities. Our vision is a world where youth entrepreneurship is recognised for driving sustainable economic development and all young people who want to set up a business can fulfil their potential. We connect our members to share expertise and collaborate on solutions to common challenges. https://www.youthbusiness.org
Google.org, Google’s philanthropic arm, supports non-profits that address humanitarian issues and apply scalable, data-driven innovation to solving the world’s biggest challenges. We accelerate their progress by connecting them with a unique blend of support that includes funding, products, and technical expertise from Google volunteers. We engage with these believers-turned-doers who make a significant impact on the communities they represent, and whose work has the potential to produce meaningful change. We want a world that works for everyone – and we believe technology and innovation can move the needle in four key areas: education, economic opportunity, inclusion and crisis response. https://www.google.org