Resources and Financial Help for SMEs Affected by COVID-19
Funding resources available for SMEs across the world
Note: This page will be continually updated as additional resources become available.
COVID-19 is affecting all of us around the globe, but economic and financial support is especially needed in emerging and developing economies.
"The same way the virus hits vulnerable people with medical pre-conditions hardest, the economic crisis hits vulnerable economies the hardest." - Kristalina Georgieva, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF)
While some countries such as South Africa were quick to follow their lockdowns with measures to support their SMEs, ensure no jobs are lost and to slow down the negative economic impact of COVID-19. Other countries are yet to provide meaningful actions to help SMEs survive this pandemic.
Co-creation Hub (CcHUB): Grant funding of up to $5000 for research and design support
Who it’s for: COVID-19 related projects in African countries. These include but not limited to projects in the following areas:
- Last-mile communication: educating the public and ensuring the right information reaches even remote locations.
- Support for the infected and the most vulnerable in society.
- Local production of essential medical supplies.
- Support for our food value chain, from producers to consumers, in the event of movement restrictions.
Fill out this form to get in touch.
Facebook: Small Business Grants programme
Who it’s for: Small Businesses experiencing challenges from COVID-19. They are offering USD 100M in cash grants and ad credits for up to 30,000 eligible small businesses in over 30 countries where their employees live and work.
Here are additional resources offered by Facebook to help you manage your business through this challenging time.
GSMA Innovation Fund for Mobile Internet Adoption and Digital Inclusion
Who it’s for: Innovative start-ups or SMEs willing and able to work with mobile operators on projects which advance the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The objective of the Fund is to support solutions that seek to address one or more of the following barriers to mobile internet adoption:
- Accessibility: Innovations which improve the accessibility and usability of handsets and mobile internet services for citizens who are unable to access them. This will not include access to networks, electricity or IDs
- Affordability: Innovations which improve the affordability of handsets and mobile internet services
- Digital skills: Innovations which focus on improving basic digital skills and confidence to access and use mobile internet
- Safety and security: Innovations which focus on improving the safety and security of those who want to use mobile internet. This will not include tackling issues of data privacy and fraud
Deadline: 23rd May 2020
Peace First: COVID-19 Rapid Response Grants
Who it’s for: Young people around the world between the ages of 13-25 who lead projects that address the impacts of COVID-19 on communities, from providing meals to elderly neighbours to launching digital mental health campaigns to support youth feeling isolated.
Entrepreneurs and businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic can apply for a loan through Kiva’s website. Your Loan gets posted on their website for lenders to support your business survive these uncertain times. Lenders crowdfund the loan in increments of $25 or more.
Virtual Business Support
African Management Institute (AMI): COVID-19 Virtual Business Survival Bootcamp
Who its for: Smaller businesses, in particular, who may be unsure of how to respond and adapt in a time of reduced spending and uncertain business activity. AMI is offering a FREE Virtual Business Survival Bootcamp to SMEs across Africa to help them respond to the current crisis. It’s a great opportunity for entrepreneurs to learn and connect with others navigating the challenges of COVID19.
The webinar will focus on Financial Forecasting and Cost Management in an Economic Slowdown.
- Wed. 6th May 2020
- Wed. 13th May 2020
- Additional dates being prepared
Sign up here.
Omidyar Network India: Rapid Response Funding for COVID-19
The rapid response funding is for innovative community-level initiatives that are tackling challenges posed by COVID-19 and the consequent socio-economic impact. The type of initiatives that will be considered include:
- Data, apps and other tech solutions
- Community outreach and mobilisation campaigns
- Economic resilience of workers and small businesses
- Actionable research
- Collaborative effort with other funds in the above areas
South African Government SMME Debt Relief Scheme
Who it’s for: Small and medium businesses which are negatively affected, directly or indirectly, due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
Uganda: Stanbic Bank - Loan Holiday
Deadline: 30th April 2020
Uganda: COVID-19 Quarantine Time Mobile App Innovations Challenge
The Challenge is looking at finding digital solutions that will ease the lives of Ugandans during and after this pandemic. Winners in each of the four categories (Agriculture, Finance, Healthcare and Education) will get $500, mentorship and their app installed in the Pixan phones.
The challenge that will run until 10th of May, is limited to only Ugandans under the age of 30.
COVID-19 Related Challenges
COVID-19 Business Pivot Challenge
The challenge helps businesses of all sizes meet the most pressing needs related to COVID-19 and build toward a more just and resilient society. Five selected submissions from the Challenge will be eligible to receive $10,000 each in seed funding from the Vodafone Americas Foundation.
To be eligible for this funding, your business pivot must be focused on the Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence, or Mobile Technology & Data. Check out the eligibility criteria for more information about this opportunity.
Deadline: April 30th, 2020
Global Online Startup Weekend: Unite to Fight COVID-19
It is focused on developing local solutions that directly tackle COVID-19-related challenges. They are 54-hour online events designed to provide superior experiential education for technical and non-technical entrepreneurs - you'll connect with amazing mentors, industry experts, founders, and partners who are ready to help you get started.
This event is not only about bringing together developers who can work on software-based solutions for the crisis. It’s an opportunity for everyone interested in the topic to inspire and be inspired and to work together on developing inclusive solutions.
Tickets to register your place for the event are completely free.
The 2020 Call for Code Global Challenge
Call for Code initiative asks the world’s developers to build practical, effective and high-quality applications that provide crisis communication, remote education and community cooperation to help tackle the impact of COVID-19.
Initial deadline: 27th April 2020
Top three solutions announced: 3rd May 2020
Final deadline: 31st July 2020
Global challenge winners announced: October 2020
MIT Solve: Health Security & Pandemics Challenge
MIT Solve is looking for tech innovations which can slow and track the spread of an emerging outbreak such as, improving individual hygiene, low-cost rapid diagnostics, and tools that support health workers. They also look for preventative and mitigation measures that strengthen access to the healthcare system and improve disease monitoring systems.
Deadline: 18th June 2020
Solve Challenge Finals: 20th September 2020
Mozilla Open Source Support (MOSS): COVID-19 Solutions Fund
The solutions fund is providing awards of up to USD 50,000 each to open source technology projects which are tackling COVID-19 in some way. They will accept applications that are hardware (e.g., an open-source ventilator), software (e.g., a platform that connects hospitals with people who have 3D printers who can print parts for that open source ventilator), as well as software that solves for secondary effects of COVID-19 (e.g., a browser plugin that combats COVID related misinformation).