The programme, led by Youth Business International (YBI) and funded by Google.org, will support underserved micro, small and medium businesses to respond to the COVID-19 crisis. New Delhi: The global economy is suffering from an unprecedented shock as a result of COVID-19. With typically tight margins, micro, small and medium businesses are vulnerable to economic downturn. The current pandemic is having a particularly serious impact on business owners and entrepreneurs from underserved communities, including young people (aged 18-35 years), women, and refugees and other migrants. Many are struggling to get through the crisis and need support now. “I run Biotechnology company (Life Science company) named as BioEra Life Sciences Pvt Ltd, that manufactures sophisticated lab equipment. We also research activities related to Life Science, and we are researching on solutions to deal with COVID19. Cash flow of most of the organisations has come to a halt and has left many entrepreneurs mentally disturbed with an increasing fear of uncertainty in mind. With most of the businesses going online, digitisation is going to play a major role in future. If business today had good digital solutions to run their business, the impact could have been less severe. In a nutshell, the need of the hour is replacing social distancing with social networking. The Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) would definitely benefit by making an online presence of their businesses and any such initiative by the govt. or any other agency to uplift the SME’s his highly appreciated.”- said BYST Grampreneur™ Siddharth Salunke from Pune, Maharashtra. The program will include the SMEs that are the backbone of the Indian economy and help in generating further employment. Due to the current lockdown, business and financial cycle of entrepreneurs has come to a standstill, especially the ones that are into manufacturing. Due to low liquidity, the entrepreneurs are unable to pay the salary & wages to their workers. However, such businesses will simply not be able to survive if not rescued – on priority – to pull them out of the current disruption. Globally, financial packages have already been announced by nations in a bid to restore their economies amid the COVID-19 pandemic looming large, across economies. There are several opportunities at a local, regional and global level for Googlers to engage and support SMEs, its members and network. They will be contributing in various ways like Digitalization of advisory and delivery services, coaching MSMEs: through a series of webinars or personalised online coaching to enable remote working for those in quarantine or social isolation; coaching members and YBI members to adapt emergency response support or helpline advisory mechanism. Lakshmi Venkataraman Venkatesan, Founding and Managing Trustee, Bharatiya Yuva Shakti Trust said, “The outbreak of COVID-19 has deeply affected BYST entrepreneurs and their local communities particularly in India’s rural hinterlands. Given underlying challenges like poor digital connectivity, BYST has been pushing hard to reach out to and mentor over 3500 young entrepreneurs with another 3000 in the pipeline. We are truly thankful to Google.org and Youth Business International for their timely support in helping us establish a helpline and in capacity building our mentors, thereby expanding our reach ten-fold.” The global programme is led by YBI, an experienced network of enterprise support organisations. It will support over 200,000 small and medium business owners across 32 countries across Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific to respond to and recover from the impact of COVID-19. Bharatiya Yuva Shakti Trust has been part of the YBI network since its inception. Anita Tiessen, CEO of Youth Business International, said: “The world is changing dramatically from day to day and I feel deeply for business owners everywhere, especially those running smaller businesses and are from underserved communities, who are often least able to bear the economic shocks of this crisis. In the face of these challenges, I have been incredibly inspired by the quick response of our network to support business owners around the world. YBI, with Google.org’s new funding commitment, will help us sustain and extend this support throughout 2020, ensuring more than 200,000 businesses can get the advice they need right now to navigate this crisis.” Rowan Barnett, Head of Google.org, EMEA & APAC, said: “The coronavirus outbreak is taking a devastating toll on lives and communities, and small businesses are facing unprecedented challenges as they struggle to stay afloat. With this grant to Youth Business International, alongside a series of Google initiatives and products, we hope to help some of the most vulnerable small businesses find a way through the crisis.” For interview requests/ media queries: Write to [email protected] Notes to editors Bharatiya Yuva Shakti Trust (BYST) Inspired by HRH, The Prince of Wales, and founded in 1992, Bharatiya Yuva Shakti Trust is the first organisation to replicate the Prince’s Trust’s youth entrepreneurship support model globally outside U.K. The programmes include supporting underprivileged young entrepreneurs by supplementing financing based on the requirement assessment done by the mentor selectors, INR 5 lakhs being the present average and with an upper limit of INR 100 lakhs, they are also supported with a host of business related activities such as training, business plan development, monitoring, mentoring and networking. The young entrepreneurs are nurtured till they reach a level where not only are they self-sufficient, but they in turn make a valuable contribution to society through creation of wealth and employment. Celebrating its 28 years of service to the nation and the youths of India, till date, BYST has supported its entrepreneurs with a total funding of about INR 316 crores through them 10% of BYST supported entrepreneurs have become millionaires. BYST through outreach and counselling initiatives has reached out to 6,64,816 youths. Over 6189 mentors have been trained and inducted and accredited by City and Guild, the UK’S largest vocational awarding body. Many of BYST’s entrepreneurs have gone ahead to win National and International awards and emerging as successful youth icons – 26 Youth Business International, 25 Citigroup and 35 JRD Tata Awards. Our Board of Trustees comprises leaders from the top business houses in India. Our corporate partners include National and multi-national organizations like, Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), Tata Steel, Bajaj Auto, JP Morgan, JK Paper, Godrej, American Insurance Group (AIG), Diageo, the keep walking fund. Over the past 28 years, many of these “bottom of the pyramid” entrepreneurs have become millionaires, winning national and international awards. Youth Business International (YBI) YBI is a global network of expert organisations in over 50 countries supporting underserved young people to turn their ideas into successful businesses, creating jobs and strengthening communities. Our vision is a world where youth entrepreneurship is recognised for driving sustainable economic development and all young people who want to set up a business can fulfil their potential. We connect our members to share expertise and collaborate on solutions to common challenges. Visit www.youthbusiness.org. Google.org Google.org, Google’s philanthropy, supports nonprofits that address humanitarian issues and apply scalable, data-driven innovation to solving the world’s biggest challenges. We accelerate their progress by connecting them with a unique blend of support that includes funding, products, and technical expertise from Google volunteers. We engage with these believers-turned-doers who make a significant impact on the communities they represent, and whose work has the potential to produce meaningful change. We want a world that works for everyone—and we believe technology and innovation can move the needle in four key areas: education, economic opportunity, inclusion and crisis response.