Helping Small Businesses Survive COVID-19


In addition to being a global health crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic has unleashed extensive socio-economic impacts, putting millions of companies worldwide at risk of being forced out of business. The crisis has hit small businesses — classified as micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) — and their workers particularly hard. Now, they urgently need support to survive. Many Governments and multinationals are taking extraordinary steps to minimize the negative impacts of the novel coronavirus on business operations and workers, but much more action is needed.

In response, the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) has launched a Call to Action to Save Our SMEs “SOS” campaign to: 

  1. Shine a spotlight on the devastating impact of COVID-19 on SMEs and their employees
  2. Ensure effective policy and fiscal responses at both the international and national levels
  3. Provide resources and tools to SMEs to help them navigate this economic shock

At the same time, the United Nations Global Compact has shared a special appeal #UnitingBusiness around a corporate response to the COVID-19 pandemic: for all companies to take collective action to stem the outbreak through implementing our Ten Principles in the areas of human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption. The appeal calls for special attention to MSMEs — encouraging companies to respond with flexibility, compassion and solidarity to the impact on MSMEs and to honour current contracts to the greatest extent possible. Engagement with suppliers is essential to ensure decent working conditions in global supply chains while providing support for business continuity by allowing flexibility in delivery and quotas.

Join this special UN Global Compact Academy session hosted in collaboration with the ICC on business and COVID-19 to explore policy options that Governments have to support MSMEs to continue operating and maintain their workforce and why their protection is vital to the successful recovery of the global economy. Attendees will also learn what multinational corporations can do to support MSMEs throughout their supply chain and hear good practice examples from MSME leaders.  


  • Dorothy Ng'ambi Tembo, Acting Executive Director, International Trade Centre
  • John W.H. Denton AO, Secretary-General, International Chamber of Commerce
  • Murtaza Ahmed, Managing Director and owner of Artistic Milliners
  • Peter Ndegwa, CEO, Safaricom

In collaboration with:

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