There is vast potential for millions of SMEs around the world to play a bigger role in supporting humanitarian efforts. Many of them have the interest and capabilities to play such a role, but they lack a reliable and effective platform for facilitating their engagement with the humanitarian sector.
Similarly, the existence of a strong and thriving SME sector – providing goods and services, creating jobs and stimulating local economic activity – can significantly boost the resilience of fragile communities around the world, yet few dedicated initiatives exist to support the growth and development of SMEs on this basis.
SMEs for Humanity (#SME4H) is a proposed new initiative that seeks to address these gaps in coordination through the creation of an online portal that could more effectively connect SMEs with other businesses and relevant stakeholders in the humanitarian ecosystem before, during and after a humanitarian crisis.
The potential contributions of SMEs to humanitarian operations could be diverse, including technical and logistical support, local and cultural advice, financial assistance, and the provision of volunteers and equipment.
The benefits for participating SMEs could include access to urgent supplies and equipment, technical and logistical support, business advice, new relationships and a range of immediate and long-term commercial opportunities.
With or without a dedicated platform such as #SME4H, the small and medium companies of the world are always likely to be involved in responding to humanitarian crises that affect them, their employees, their families and their communities. #SME4H seeks to help facilitate these activities in order to ensure that any SME involvement in delivering better humanitarian outcomes is as strategic, transparent and as coordinated as possible.
#SME4H hosted an Event at the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul on Monday 23rd May to introduce SMEs for Humanity as a concept for development to important relevant stakeholders. We gave an overview of the initiative and engaged in discussions with key parties about the role SMEs currently play in humanitarian crises and their potential future role as well as showcasing the platform initial ideas. In the next stage of development we are keen to engage with further potential partners and hear from SME’s who have firsthand experience of humanitarian crises. Please get in touch to be involved in the Contact Us section.