A global think tank is helping policy makers tackle the impact of COVID-19 on SMEs

29th July 2020

Author: Dr. Mohammad Nurunnabi, PhD, CMA, SFHEA, FRSA, FAIA (Acad), CMBE

Businesses around the globe have been hit hard by the COVID-19 crisis, causing many governments to step in with stimulus packages to help them survive. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) reports that Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) are particularly vulnerable and as many as 50% could close within the next three months. The International Labour Organization (ILO) also calls attention to the implications of the crisis on businesses, particularly SMEs, warning that without intervention half of the global workforce could lose their livelihoods.

Accurate data on the impact of COVID-19 on SMEs is essential in helping governments and international organisations take appropriate action, but it is often hard to obtain and disparate. To turn this around, Prince Sultan University (PSU) in Saudi Arabia has created a global think-tank to gather SME data from across the world. The Global SME Policy Network (GSPN) is a group of researchers, business and policy experts who are working together to provide data driven policies.

Global SME Policy Network banner

“There is a lack of data on SMEs globally,” explains Dr Mohammad Nurunnabi, who is leading the charge at PSU. “We have this global initiative to provide the data needed by governments across the globe and international organisations like OECD, World Bank, and G-20 countries, on the challenges facing SMEs globally. “We aim to bring leading experts from around the world to provide the data to policymakers.”

More than 50 global experts (representing Armenia, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, China, Denmark, Finland, France, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Nigeria, Norway, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Slovakia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates, USA, UK) have joined GSPN, but the aim is to have contributors from 185 countries. Contributors will provide data from the country they represent to create an SME challenges and ranking system that contains metrics on areas such as the impact of the pandemic on SME operations, management, finance and employment, as well as government stimulus packages.

In addition to global metrics, GSPN will produce regional/country specific whitepapers. The Network has already published three whitepapers, the most recent being ‘Impact of COVID-19: How CEOs Respond to SMEs Recovery Planning in Saudi Arabia’. GSPN’s next whitepaper will look at the global impact of COVID-19 on SMEs.

To join or support GSPN, contact Dr Nurunnabi at [email protected]

Emerald Group Publishing is a knowledge and dissemination partner of the GSPN initiative.

About Global SME Policy Network (GSPN)

Global SME Policy Network (GSPN) is a global initiative that brings together leading researchers and experts from around the world to provide data driven SME policies to government and international organisations from G20 countries and worldwide to cope with the challenges of the COVID-19 crisis.

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