The Covid-19 pandemic has brought about an unprecedented shock to the economy. Small, micro, and medium businesses are logically left more vulnerable to the economic downturn due to their tight margins. This pandemic is posing a serious impact on business owners from underserved communities, including young entrepreneurs (aged 18 to 35 years), refugees, women, and migrants. Thus, such businesses logically need support to outlive the crisis.
With the goal of helping startup founders remain afloat during the crisis, QBO Innovation Hub—in partnership with Youth Business International (YBI) and Google.org—has launched ‘RESQUE: Startups vs. Covid 19 Competition.’ This program comes after QBO (read: ‘ku-bo’) was named as YBI’s delivery partner in the Philippines in developing and delivering urgent packages of support to struggling local businesses.
“Businesses across the globe are grappling with the adverse effects of Covid-19 and our local startup community is no exception,” said QBO Director Katrina Rausa Chan. “We continue to believe that startups are key to driving development in our country and are committed to helping our startups navigate these trying times.”
Support for startups
The RESQUE: Startups vs. Covid-19 Competition will provide a holistic support program to Filipino startups. New businesses can join and choose between two categories—1) Covid-19 Solutions is for startups with innovative solutions, products, and/or services that directly tackle Covid-related challenges and 2) Sustainable Pivots is for startups that adapt and secure sustainability through pivot strategies amid the crisis.
The theme of the competition is also addressing the loss of employment, economic restoration, and the creation of new growth and development opportunities.
Aside from a P100,000-cash prize, 10 winners will receive two months of high-touch mentorship from seasoned entrepreneurs and industry experts. This competition includes learning and feedback sessions, business clinics and consultations, and access to resources. Google experts will also be on board to share knowledge and expertise.
The competition is part of a global program led by YBI, a network providing enterprise support to organizations. It is supporting more than 200,000 small and medium business owners across 32 nations in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and Asia Pacific in an effort to respond and recover from the inevitable impact of the pandemic.
“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,” said YBI CEO Anita Tiessen.
“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.”
Google.org, which is funding the program, hopes this will help small businesses survive the times. “With this grant to YBI, 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,” said Google.org Head for EMEA & APAC Rowan Barnett.
Application period for the three-month program started on June 15 and will last until June 30, 2020. Interested startups can submit their applications at qbo.com.ph/covid-19.