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Impact Report on South Africa’s SMMEs

According to our report, over 55,000 SMMEs will not survive the COVID-19 Pandemic with at least 42,350 employees working for these SMMEs set to lose their jobs. The world as we know it has changed and the way entrepreneurs operate will also change. We conducted a survey between 23-28 March 2020 which aimed to understand the impact of COVID-19 on SMME and Startup businesses. The study is a purposive sample intended for drawing insights. The limitation therefore is that it cannot be generalised. It is now necessary to mount a bigger representative study to support this current study.


At most, it is projected that 423,500+ employees working for about 55,000 SMMEs could lose their jobs. COVID-19 is impacting many facets of our society and entrepreneurship is one of them with 92% of small businesses’ operations affected. Although 63% of businesses can provide their products and services virtually, contact with clients is still very important. Types of support to reduce the negative impact include payment deferments (20%), obtaining credit facility on goods (15%) and rental subsidy (13%). Twenty percent (20%) do not have alternative support mechanisms.

The survey showed that virtual working is seen as a future business opportunity, followed by diversifying offerings and thinking of disruptive approaches.

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