Covid-19 Era : What is your personal call to action?

“This is a time of crises!”. We hear ourselves and others repeat this statement many times each day.  Its “covid19” this and “covid19” that. It is now exhausting just hearing it being said.

The cost of this crisis on human life is becoming very personal. In a few short weeks each of us is likely to know someone dear who would have been lost to the coronavirus.

On the other hand, the cost incurred by the economy though the daily closures of small businesses is damning. The impact of job losses on family life and on the very fabric of society will soon be telling.  Each of us could know at least one person among our family and friends who would have lost a job within the next few weeks. This is very personal.

Many say the efforts of government and of many other stakeholders in response to the crises was grossly in adequate against the challenge that was faced. The budget allocated was infinitesimal compared to the need.

The many hoops and stringent criteria for qualifying for the financial support was like salt to a fresh wound. Many waited, waited, and waited some more. The waiting is not only long, it is more often fruitless. Many, many more have been declined due to “incomplete’ documentation and many more did not make it simply because they failed to meet the criteria (which favoured formal and well-resourced businesses) The system clearly lacks inclusivity.

The number of jobs lost and jobs at risk are going up, the curve is relentless. Flattening this curve is a dream, for now. 

The picture could soon be there for all to see – closed down business premises, abandoned buildings and offices – ‘kukhala ibhungane’. The impact on family life, on the social fabric of the community could be devastating.

There is, however, one bothersome question in my head that remains unasked and unanswered. This question is personal. What contribution are YOU making in supporting and propping up struggling small businesses in your hood?  It is popular and convenient to point fingers at politicians and institutions and rant about how ineffective their response has been, but it is a lot harder to look closer home and realise that it starts with yourself. It is in our hands to make a difference in our own small communities and areas of influence…we hold a special power of choice and influence,

How? you may ask. Its your choice where you buy your supply of goods and services.  Secondly, Its within our influence to talk to your friends and family and raise their consciousness to spend their money more deliberately in support of local small enterprises ..this way we may flatten the curve of job losses and stabilise our economy.  

Thirdly, your professional skills, carefully used in advising a local business owner, could be the best gift you could give than entrepreneur at this time. Your knowledge and personal networks could make all the difference.  Less that 10% of small businesses in South Africa ever receive any form of business advisory support or business development support.

Make a personal commitment to keep the doors of one small business in your area open. Let us each employ our positive power of choice and influence to make our contribution to flattening the curve, a job at a time…

Let us do all this while keeping our faith and protecting ourselves and our dear families from the invisible coronavirus.

Sifiso Ndwandwe

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