Micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) need to speed up digital transformation efforts and adopt diversification strategies to ride out a pandemic and thrive in the new normal.
Katrine Kae Vicedo, programme analyst at United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), cited these policy recommendations made by various organizations amid consolidated findings across various enterprise surveys indicating that financial performance of majority businesses during the height of lockdowns were expected weak relative to pre-pandemic.
“Digital uptakes apparent and proved as one of the viable coping strategies during the pandemic,” she said in a webinar.
In the medium to long run, Vicedo said there is thus a need to facilitate digital transformation, innovation, and adaptation of MSMEs.
“It is crucial as well to effectively narrow the digital divide to reap full benefits from digitalization,” she said. “Resiliency also comes with adaptability of operations to offering new products and services during the pandemic.”
Vicedo said it is likewise important to help these firms to be more capable to adopt diversification strategies and facilitate flexibility to reorganize supply chains.
“MSMEs should be guided to incorporate foresight planning and sustainability paradigms in their business continuity plans,” she added.
Vicedo said surveys found that existing business continuity plans seemed inadequate.
She also underscored the need to strengthen existing programs supporting the MSMEs by integrating innovative approaches such as fintech for financial inclusion and Synergizing Recovery Initiatives. Knowledge, and Adaptation Practices or SIKAP, a unified online business recovery hub that helps these firms bounce forward to the “next normal”.
Vicedo further underscored the need to effectively address service delivery gaps while continuously improving awareness of MSMEs of available programs and assistance.
“Awareness of available programs and assistance remains key and this should be facilitated by simpler application guidelines,” she added.
With the support of the Connecting Business Initiative, the Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation (PDRF), in partnership with the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA) and the UNDP, developed resources to support MSMEs in their recovery to the impacts of the pandemic and other disasters.