Disruptions of business activities impact the ability of local economies to immediately recover from a disaster. While large companies typically have a business continuity plan in place, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), which usually form part of their supply chains, do not. SMEs in particular struggle between priorities of attending to their families and employees or protecting their assets and ensuring that the critical activities will be able to resume and recover immediately following disasters.

Consequently, disrupted operations of SMEs affect the operations and markets of large companies— resulting to the impaired ability of the business sector to resume operations. This contributes to the slow recovery of local economic activities in disaster-stricken areas.

Small and medium enterprises (SMEs), including micro enterprises (then referred to as MSMEs), are the backbone of many local economies. As such, supporting their capacity to prepare, respond and recover from disasters is an essential approach to building disaster resilient livelihoods and communities.

The focus on helping SMEs is in line with CBi’s vision of improved resilience of societies and businesses, more lives saved, and livelihoods safeguarded and CBi advocates for and promotes SME resilience through the SME Resilience workstream. The workstream focuses on promoting knowledge management through the SME Resource Hub which features different knowledge products developed by and for CBi Member Networks.

The initiative also offers technical guidance support for MSME-related initiatives by CBi Member Networks and other private sector networks.

As of 2020, CBi Member Networks have access to more than 40,000 MSMEs (CBi, 2020). [FN1] With a focus on preparedness, response, and recover, CBi Member Networks almost all provide business continuity planning and disaster risk reduction (DRR) training activities to SME partners and members. Specific Member Networks have also supported MSMEs through impact assessments, advocacy efforts (e.g., pulse surveys) and information campaigns as well as technical and financial assistance.

Examples from our Member Networks include:

  • The Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation (PDRF) launched an online one-stop shop business recovery hub called SIKAP that offers business recovery services (e.g., information on livelihood recovery grants, mentoring and technical assistance) based on a customized SME Business Recovery Journey Tracker. PDRF will also develop a recovery guidebook using strategic foresight techniques.
  • In partnership with Oxfam, the Vanuatu Business Resilience Council (VBRC) implemented a mobile-based cash transfer project using blockchain technology to help Cyclone Harold affected families purchase goods and services from local businesses.

For more information about CBi’s SME Resilience workstream, or to explore a potential collaboration, please reach out to connectingbusiness@un.org or connect with us on Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook.