Supporting eco-inclusive enterprises in their immediate response to COVID-19 impacts
SEED launches a toolkit, workshop series for eco-inclusive enterprises
SEED is supporting enterprise resilience in the context of COVID-19. Informed by a series of interviews with 30 SEED-supported enterprises conducted in early 2020, SEED launched a toolkit, workshop series for eco-inclusive enterprises, as well as a Training of Trainers for Business Development Services (BDS) providers across Africa and Asia to offer much-needed support.
SEED has identified six critical resilience factors relevant for eco-inclusive enterprises to sustain their operations during and after the COVID-19 pandemic and based activities around these. In a series of five online workshops targeted at SEED-supported eco-inclusive enterprises, businesses were provided with relevant tools to work on their enterprise resilience. The workshop series enabled virtual collaboration in small groups. Approximately 30 eco-inclusive enterprise teams applied for the workshop series. Overall, a community evolved throughout the workshop series connecting enterprises to exchange ideas and engage in peer learning in turbulent times.
Key themes covered were how to cut costs, how to improve cash cycles, how to get digital and engage in tech-enabled organisational development, as well as how to adapt funding strategies. On the cost and funding side, for instance, problems and solutions regarding payment term negotiations, delayed payments, and renegotiating prices for resources were discussed. In regard to the digital space, discussions revolved around technical literacy, connectivity issues, and digital tools. Upon completion of the SEED COVID-19 response workshop series, one participant stated that the SEED tools helped to “re-plan (…) and prepare for the future”. Another participant added that after attending the workshops their team would “know how to respond to the key challenges posed by the current situation”.
Following the workshop series for eco-inclusive enterprises, SEED organised two Training of Trainers in June 2020. The Training of Trainers equipped BDS providers operating in countries as diverse as Ghana, India, Indonesia, Malawi, South Africa, Thailand, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe with the SEED COVID-19 response toolkit, enabling them to help enterprises in their portfolio to respond to the impacts of the pandemic. In addition to the enterprise perspective, the Training of Trainers covered the perspective of BDS providers, changes in the pursuit of their profession caused by COVID-19, and implications for resilience. One key takeaway, several BDS providers pointed to, is the need to adapt to the new normal and increase digital capacities.