About 85% of micro and small enterprises in Serbia estimate that the COVID-19 pandemic will have a negative impact on their activities, reveals the latest survey presented by Smart Kolektiv and Forum za Odgovorno Poslovanje (The Forum for Socially Responsible Business).
Around 80% of the survey participants said they experienced a decline in demand for their products and services during the pandemic and expected the same to happen after the pandemic too, while about 30% believe that the pandemic will lead to a reduction in the number of employees.
More than 70% of respondents expect a negative economic impact on their operations for six months or more, according to the survey which was conducted in late March. More than 48% of companies fear that they will not be able to overcome this challenge without further support, the results show.
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In addition to government measures, business owners also provided suggestions for other initiatives that could be implemented by large companies and the private sector to help micro and small businesses, including giving preference to the goods produced by small local producers over imported goods, supporting promotion and marketing activities and actively involving large companies in the promotion of micro and small businesses.
They also propose adhering to or shortening payment terms, small businesses joining retail chain suppliers and “free listing” of micro and small businesses in Serbia.
Another suggestion is providing assistance in the form of commercial and financial advice, the opportunity of paying in instalments, donations in the form of goods or financial assets, and finally liquidity loans.
Director of Smart Kolektiv, Neven Marinovic, said that the survey’s aim was to explore challenges and ways of support with the view of mitigating the economic and social impact of the pandemic and better respond to the needs of those companies.
This post is also available in: Italiano