COVID-19 has had a direct impact on the global economy, and MSMEs. In Mexico they have been struggling to keep their businesses, considering the effects produced by demand reduction, complex processes that are not automated and the difficulty to access inputs. Regarding the non-financial offerings to MSMEs, NAFIN strengthened its training and technical assistance programs, and launched “NAFIN Business Coffee.” This initiative can be described as online worktables for entrepreneurs and businessmen to share their experiences on best business practices for the recovery and mitigation of economic, operational, legal, and financial risks, providing thus a network platform between well-recognized entrepreneurs (panelists) and MSMEs (participants).
Organization implementing and funding the solution
Start & end date of the solution
Started on 21 May 2020 and is expected to continue.
Main aims of the solution
- In line with NAFIN’s mission, to contribute to the economic development of the country by facilitating business development services to MSMEs and entrepreneurs.
- To provide MSMEs with various tools, specialized content and relevant information on risk prevention (economic, operational, legal and financial), as well as best business practices for the recovery of their businesses.
- To identify best business practices through a dynamic exchange of experiences between MSMEs.
- To teach MSMEs on the importance of the prevention and the implementation of continuity plans in the event of natural disasters or other relevant economic crisis, and on tools useful for their economic reactivation.
- To provide a platform for MSMEs to network.
Mechanisms of the solution
- Based on the target sector established by NAFIN, the specific worktable is designed.
- Considering the business sector and size determined by NAFIN, the institution identifies a recognized entrepreneur with best business practices.
- Selected entrepreneurs or businessmen are invited to participate as panelists, in coordination with NAFIN’s Network of State Representatives.
- NAFIN is responsible for the planning and organization of the event, including coordination meetings with the panelists.
- During the live worktable, lasting 1-2 hours, a moderator formulates questions, some of which have been previously agreed upon with the panelist, and others are taken live from other participants. Other dynamics with the rest of the participants include surveys, online exercises, and discussions on their experiences.
- After the event, NAFIN evaluates each event through a live survey measuring the level of satisfaction of the participants in order to obtain feedback and identify areas of improvement.
- To date, 11 worktables have been organized, in which recognized entrepreneurs from different sectors (tourism, agribusiness, commerce and services, dairy industry, automotive industry, etc.) have participated.
- All worktables are available on the platform www.nafintecapacita.com and are provided for free to NAFIN’s registered clients (invitation sent by email).
Results achieved so far
- From May to December 2020, 11 Business Coffees were held with 4,508 participants (beneficiaries).
- Entrepreneurs from the tourism, agribusiness, commerce and services, dairy industry, automotive industry, as well as other sectors, participated as panelists in these events.
Key challenges in implementing a COVID-19 solution and steps taken to mitigate them
- Key challenges in implementing a COVID-19 solution and steps taken to mitigate them 1. Identification of the most affected sectors from the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Definition of the relevant topic in line with the identified risks caused by the pandemic in the specific sector.
- Selection of the appropriate panelist.
- Selection of the participants invited, based on the sector and topic to be discussed.
- Technological difficulties resulting from an incorrect use of digital tools, as well as intermittences in the network connection.
- Maintain the interest of the beneficiaries, developing worktables whose contents remain relevant and motivate them to actively participate.
The steps taken to mitigate them were:
- Coordination with other units in NAFIN to identify priority and strategic sectors.
- Identification of databases, internal or public, focused on the selected sectors.
- Internal analysis of the problems/risks identified in the selected sector due to the pandemic.
- Development of an action protocol in case of atypical situations and technical issues during the transmission of the webinar.
- Assessment of the feedback provided by participants in order to identify areas of improvement for further events.
The audience embraced the virtual format, but the in-person classroom is still a favorite because of ease of discussion and networking. SIDF Academy is discussing having in-classroom sessions as alternative solutions to really show their audience they are understood.
Main lessons learned
- The current pandemic forced a change in the way we interact and do business. In this sense, NAFIN identified an opportunity to restructure and strengthen the non-financial offering that had already been provided to its clients. The current context has strengthened the need to use digital media and tools to get closer to our clients and bring them closer to each other. NAFIN was thus able to adapt and implement new support mechanisms through the use of digital technologies and new communication strategies. Likewise, we identified that SMEs have a broad interest in becoming more involved in this regard. Overall, this emphasized the need for further digitalization of this sector to improve their competitiveness and productivity.
- The effects caused by the pandemic have not been the same for each company or for each sector. The tools and lessons learned have common ground, as all companies require a continuity plan and a plan to mitigate risks. The content created is thus relevant and focuses on the current needs of companies.
- This initiative also helps NAFIN assess the situation of its clients and their specific needs, to identify areas of opportunity, both for financial and non-financial offerings. Innovative recommendations constantly arise that are important for the institution to look into. Hence, it is important to continue to implement and strengthen this initiative in benefit of both NAFIN and its clients.
Sustainability of the solution and potential to be replicated
NAFIN Business Coffee” is a tool that remains relevant for our business partners and thus will continue to be implemented with the aim of reaching more beneficiaries. This initiative can certainly be expanded beyond the current format, perhaps even at the regional level.
At the same time, this initiative has the potential to be replicated in other countries, with the help of international forums, such as The Montreal Group. The relevance of this initiative goes well beyond the current crisis due to COVID-19, as it can be scaled, aligned, and adapted to other circumstances.