Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, countries across the globe are grappling not only with a once-in-a-century public health challenge but also with a sharp economic downturn – and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are uniquely vulnerable.
In Europe, McKinsey estimates that nearly 60 million jobs are at risk, two-thirds of those jobs are held by workers at SMEs. Meanwhile, in the United States, 30 million SMB jobs are vulnerable, accounting for some 54 per cent of American jobs at risk. Faced with supply chain disruptions, plunging revenue, and an uncertain future, 52 per cent of American small businesses could permanently close if the crisis is prolonged, according to a recent Society of Human Resources Management survey.
Compounding SMEs’ challenges, cybercriminals have exploited the crisis to step up attacks, with small businesses especially threatened. As SMEs confront a diverse range of issues stemming from the pandemic, Israeli tech companies offer a wide array of solutions to help businesses shore up their bottom lines and navigate this period of economic turbulence.
- Next Insurance provides tailored, affordable small business insurance coverage to U.S. small businesses through an online portal. Founded in 2016, the company delivers business, general liability, professional liability, commercial auto, and workers’ compensation coverage for more than 1,300 classes of business. The company has launched an SME assistance program called Built By Business and has joined the #OpenWeStand initiative and American Express’ Stand for Small campaign to aid entrepreneurs in these unprecedented times.
- Cybersecurity company odix provides comprehensive network protection against ransomware attacks. Prominent customers include Dun & Bradstreet Corp., General Electric, and the European Investment Bank (EIC), but the company’s enterprise-grade cybersecurity protection isn’t just for major multinational organizations. With €2 million in funding from the EU’s Horizon 2020 program, odix is expanding its cyber technology to cover European SMEs.
- Long before the pandemic, securing funding ranked as one of the biggest obstacles for SMEs. But loan marketplace Become, formerly Lending Express, connects businesses to a wide ecosystem of lenders and partners, enabling SMEs to access customized loan terms that suit their businesses’ unique needs. The company is also assisting SMEs in accessing Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funds under the U.S. CARES Act.
With its own dynamic entrepreneurial culture, Israel’s tech ecosystem is highly attuned to the issues confronting SMEs in the era of coronavirus and stands ready to help.