The team created six one-hour interactive webinars:
- Accessing finance during crises
- Surviving today to thrive tomorrow
- Communicating with stakeholders during crises
- Adjusting your business plan during crises
- Doing business online: transforming your business for the new normal
- Marketing your business online: an introduction to social media marketing
Live interactive webinars have been delivered by certified GLC trainers and offered to MSMEs through a network of 41 financial institutions in 31 countries worldwide, many of which are conflict-affected or low-income. To meet the needs of the globally diverse audience, the webinars have been translated, localized, and delivered in eight languages: Arabic, Armenian, English, French, Gujarati, Spanish, Urdu, and Vietnamese. All courses were offered free of charge. Short animated videos were developed to serve as a teaser, reminder, or alternative to selected webinars.
Learn more about the impact of the COVID-19 response program.
14,262 participants worldwide
For MSME participants in emerging markets, the webinars have been a lifeline. “The COVID-19 pandemic has provided me with the best school ever. I have been in business for 20 years. I have received a lot of information as a result of these webinars,” said a participant in Uganda. “This is timely and helpful and enables us to shift our perspective during the crisis,” said another participant in Kenya. Other MSMEs from around the world described their learning experience as “insightful”, “eye-opening”, “thought-provoking”, “enlightening”, and “innovative.”
Participating financial institutions have reported strengthened client relationships: “The COVID-19 training webinars enabled us to offer tools and knowledge to our existing MSME customers at a time when our support was most critical,” said Annastacia Kimtai, Director of Retail Banking for KCB Bank Group in Kenya. For financial institutions and their MSME clients, IFC’s GLC program has created benefits that will outlast COVID-19.
MEET PARTICIPATING GLC TRAINERS
Fatma Abubakar El-Maawy
Fatma Abubakar El-Maawy is an IFC-certified master trainer and an IFC-LPI-certified trainer and assessor
Delivered webinars to: Co-Op Bank (Kenya), Diamond Trust Bank (Kenya), Gulf Africa Bank (Kenya), I&M Bank (Kenya), I&M Bank (Rwanda), KCB Bank (Kenya), and Kenya Climate Innovation Center (Kenya and Tanzania)
Prior to conducting training, I researched the clients to gauge and ascertain the challenges they experienced. The majority were experiencing finance and marketing issues during the pandemic. So, as a trainer, I explored and opened opportunities for MSMEs by letting them look in the areas they might have otherwise overlooked, e.g., selling online including through Facebook, WhattsApp, etc. In terms of liquidity problems, MSMEs needed to cut costs and these were areas we discussed extensively. The third often neglected topic was MSMEs' communications with their clients. We urged MSMEs to keep in touch with their clients, so they could remain on top on their customers' minds. It was crucial that clients remembered them post-COVID. Finally, we often emphasized that it was important not to hike prices (without incurring losses) during this time, be considerate of clients, and not take advantage of the situation.
We kept in touch with MSMEs on a regular basis and allowed them to call us even after webinars if they had a question and needed a piece of advice.
Despite the pandemic, I felt my role as a trainer had expanded and I was able to give back to the community. Some people donated money. I gave my time, knowledge and a willing ear to solve the challenges of these entrepreneurs. Moreover, all the parties involved—IFC, trainers and the banks—demonstrated a great teamwork in their effort to support MSMEs during the pandemic.
It was a sad time but fulfilling in terms of the 'giving' experience.
LABAN MAWUNGWE is an IFC-certified master trainer, IFC-LPI-certified trainer and assessor, and a signatory to the GLC Principles for Learning.
Delivered webinars to: Steward Bank (Zimbabwe), Absa Uganda (Uganda), and Bankers Association of Zambia (Zambia) clients
My role as a trainer in IFC FIG COVID-19 webinars was to provide hope to MSMEs through various business-related topics that I delivered. I aspired to make the training relevant and practical by providing relevant examples and offering ways to apply recommendations in the simplest way possible.
Participation in these webinars meant a lot to me, as first of all, through brainstorming and sharing ideas, I was able to bring out the potential that the MSMEs already had. Secondly, I learnt a lot from MSMES and the strategies they devised to overcome the hardships. For example, one participant told us how he was cutting costs by reducing the number of meals they had at home. Thirdly, I was able to learn about the COVID situation in different parts of Africa and how African entrepreneurs coped with the pandemic.
I think that thanks to the webinars entrepreneurs were able to enhance their survival strategies to stay afloat. Many took up the opportunities that COVID-19 brought and diversified their business by making products like masks, sanitizers, and other personal protective equipment. And importantly, majority of MSMEs have embraced the digital platforms to reach their customers and to expand their distribution markets.
Margaret Jackson is an IFC-certified master trainer, IFC-LPI-certified trainer and assessor, and a signatory to the GLC Principles for Learning.
Delivered webinars to: Access Bank, FCMB, and Standard Chartered Bank (Nigeria), and Fidelity Bank (Ghana)
I facilitated the COVID-19 response webinars in Ghana and Nigeria for Access Bank, FCMB, Fidelity Bank, and Standard Chartered Bank and also worked with a team of instructional designers to develop two out of six courses, namely "Doing Business Online" and "Marketing your Business Online".
Facilitating these webinars meant a lot to me. I was contributing my quota, ensuring that SMEs will not only survive but thrive after the pandemic. Also as an SME owner, I learnt a lot from what I was teaching my fellow entrepreneurs. Teaching entrepreneurs gave me hope. It made me realize that there is definitely going to be light at the end of the tunnel. SMEs owners realized that a crisis did not mean the end of their businesses. These are some of the measures participants decided to take as a result of the webinars:
- Retooling their business; using their equipment to make or produce things that were crisis-related.
- Making sure that that they get their documentation right before accessing loans.
- Addressing the needs of each stakeholder when sending out communications during the pandemic.
- Cutting down on fixed cost by working remotely without compromising on standards.
Finally, team work is key. This is what makes online facilitation work.
MEHDI CHAHED is an IFC-certified master trainer, IFC-LPI-certified trainer and assessor, and a signatory to the GLC Principles for Learning.
Delivered webinars to: BH Bank (Tunisia) and CGEM (Morocco) clients
I had the opportunity to deliver COVID-19 webinars to IFC clients in Tunisia and Morocco. The participants were mainly SMEs, and I am certain they benefitted a lot from support and advice on how to cope with the pandemic, specifically, how to adapt business plan, access finance, do business and market their goods and services online, and how to communicate with stakeholders during crises. I think during those webinars, I was not only a facilitator, but also a coach to many of SMEs prompting them to take matters into their hands and adapt.
Going forward, MSMEs may need to take an accelerated training focused on digital and soft skills to be ready to manage this way out of the crisis.
Aïssatou Diallo is an IFC-certified master trainer and an IFC-LPI-certified trainer and assessor
Delivered webinars to: BCP/ABI (Cote d'Ivoire) and Vista Bank (Guinea)
My role in these webinars was to introduce tools to help SME clients of IFC partner banks cope with the economic situation caused by COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically, we provided guidance to SMEs to help them adapt their business plans, access finance, communicate with stakeholders during crisis, and use digital marketing tools.
For me the webinars provided additional activity during this time of crisis. It was a real lifeline. It also allowed me to strengthen my online training delivery skills.
I think these webinars have also been useful for financial institutions. The training made it possible for banks to strengthen their ties with SME clients and to demonstrate that banks cared deeply about the future of SMEs.
Undoubtedly, webinars also equipped SMEs with strategies to overcome the crisis and start heading towards the recovery.
ASHRAF SHENOUDA is an IFC-certified master trainer, IFC-LPI-certified trainer and assessor, and a signatory to the GLC Principles for Learning.
Delivered webinars to: Al Kuraimi Islamic Microﬁnance Bank (Yemen), Bank Al Etihad (Jordan), and IBRD client (Iraq)
It was a great pleasure to contribute to such a great initiative spearheaded by the IFC GLC team in supporting SMEs during the COVID-19 crisis. In fact, it complemented my own call for being socially responsible. Hence, I gave it the highest priority always making myself available to deliver webinars to SMEs in a number of vulnerable countries.
As entrepreneurs were affected by traumatic events happening around them, they were getting confused by a high level of uncertainty, so I think it was important to inject some positive energy while delivering webinars. As always, for me, as a trainer, it was key to understand each market situation and customize my delivery accordingly for higher relevance. Ultimately, it was very rewarding to realize that various players can cooperate so effectively to support people and prevent lay-offs during the global turmoil.