How to Ensure MSMEs Thrive Post COVID-19?

Join us for an online written discussion with a panel of experts to explore how we can ensure MSMEs thrive post COVID-19

Live Panel
Thursday 4th June, 3.00pm – 4.00pm GMT / 10am-11am EDT [ADD TO CALENDAR]

The global pandemic has triggered an unprecedented surge of support for micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), in recognition of the critical role they play in national economies and global value chains, and because of their vulnerability as global economic activity grinds to a halt. COVID-19 is making an already challenging environment for MSMEs far worse, especially for informal businesses.

At the same time, the global crisis has also exposed deeply entrenched, complex and interconnected challenges already facing MSMEs. These include access to finance, as well as markets and networks, availability of skills and information and the regulatory environment. As the agenda shifts towards rebuilding and recovery, experts are starting to highlight the need and the opportunity for a concerted effort to address these underlying issues and to build back a more supportive operating environment for MSMEs.

The pandemic also reminds us that many different sectors share the same goal of helping MSMEs to grow. Large companies who source from and sell via MSMEs, impact investors as well as national and donor governments all have a vital interest in seeing MSMEs thrive. Collaboration between these actors has accelerated dramatically, showing what can be achieved if partners put their minds to it.

A new guide from Business Fights Poverty and Endeva, which will be available on 4th June, aims to demonstrate that by combining their strengths in a systematic way, stakeholders can magnify their impact both in terms of commercial results and social impact and more effectively tackle MSME barriers to growth.


  • Pamela Cornes, Global Director, Social Impact, AB InBev
  • Katharine Teague, Head of Advocacy, AB Sugar
  • Maryanne Ochola, Director East Africa Regional Chapter, ANDE
  • Lino Dias, Vice President, Smallholder Farming,Bayer
  • Richard Gilbert, Challenge Director, Business Fights Poverty
  • Mario Gonzalez, Responsible Business Senior Adviser, CEMEX
  • Christina Tewes-Gradl, Managing Director, Endeva
  • Favad Soomro, Head of Engro Foundation, Engro
  • Hugues Vincent-Genod, Investment Manager, Investisseurs & Partenaires
  • Sandrine Chetail, Global Senior Director Economic Growth, Mercy Corps
  • Eduardo Tugendhat, Director, Palladium
  • Willy Foote, Founder and CEO, Root Capital
  • Henning Ringholz, Small Foundation
  • Jorge Ortega, Social Impact, Visa
  • Kammy Naidoo, Global Programme Adviser, UNCDF
  • Daniel Nowack, Managing Director, Yunus Social Business


In this live one-hour online discussion, a panel of experts will aim to address three questions:

  1. How can short-term COVID-19-related support measures for MSMEs be built on and further leveraged in the longer-term? Where do the greatest opportunities lie?

  2. How can sectors collaborate more effectively to rebuild a better operating environment for MSMEs post the crisis? What are some good current examples?

  3. How do we better enable and incentivise greater long-term collaboration between sectors in support of MSMEs, and who has a role to play in making it happen?


This is a text-based discussion. There will be no video or audio. Please post your comments below. After the live session, this discussion will remain open, so please do continue to share your insights. To receive a free summary of this discussion afterwards, register here

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Hello to everyone today, we look forward to this discussion. Which will start in 5 mins.


Hi Katie. Glad to be here

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Thanks Katie looking forward to the discussion.

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Hello. Should be fun

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Hi everyone! Looking forward to the discussion!

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Looking forward to great insights from everyone! Thanks.

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Excited for this. Thank you, Katie.

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Hi All - this is going to be fun!


Glad to be here for this exciting topic!

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Hi all - Dan from Hand in Hand International here. We focus on women’s economic empowerment and micro-enterprise growth. We are currently in the midst of designing a recovery programme for some 100,000 micro-entrepreneurs across Kenya and Tanzania.

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Welcome everyone.
Could we start today - please do introduce yourselves.

Hi, I am Jorge Ortega, proud to be part of the Social Impact team at Visa. I am based in Miami. I am part of a global team that develops programs, inclusive solutions and services, capacity building around business skills and do research around the small business ecosystem.

I want to thank BFP and their team, Zahid, Yvette, Katie and Richard not only for putting together this interesting discussion but also for all the effort, energy and commitment to support micro and small businesses around the world. Thanks.*


Hi Katie - I am Sandrine Chetail-Armour, Sr Director for Economic Growth for Mercy Corps, leading our technical teams on agriculture, markets, and financial inclusion.


Hello, my name is Richard Gilbert – I am a Challenge Director at Business Fights Poverty. Working with our large company and foundation partners, I have helped to develop a new guide released yesterday which highlights how different sectors can magnify their impact on MSMEs through a more collaborative approach.


Hi, I am Henning Ringholz, Senior Executive at Small Foundation, a family foundation dedicated to catalysing opportunities for growth in rural Sub-Saharan Africa. We feel that this crisis has shown that there is an urgent need to strengthen collaboration between MSMEs, large businesses and intermediaries such as investors, accelerators and others, and we would like to see this conversation and the report as a starting point for action.


Hi, I’m Lino Dias, the Vice-President of Smallholder Farming at the Crop Science Division of Bayer AG. I am working with teams around the globe who are working with smallholder farmers, developing solutions to help them to reach their farming potential and grow their farms into sustainable businesses consistent with out vision of Health for all, Hunger for none.


Hi all - I am Lucho Osorio. I focus on market systems development. I created my own company called Horizontal8 to help small scale entrepreneurs become more effective as drivers of systemic change. Great to be here!

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Hi everyone!
My name is Favad Soomro. I am heading Engro Foundation, a corporate foundation of Engro Corporation and its affiliates. We are based in Pakistan. We are in variety of businesses including agriculture, manufacturing, telecom and infrastructure.


Hi all! I am Christina Tewes-Gradl, founder and managing director of Endeva. We drive inclusive systems innovation. We do this by working with partners of all sectors in discovering, designing and co-creating the systems solutions we need to meet the 2030 agenda and get to economies that serve people and planet. I am a co-author of the report on “Strengthening Markets Through Collaboration”, and excited to so see it live today. Great to be part of such an excellent panel!