Despite the crisis that is still being experienced in Mexico and the world, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have a “fundamental” role on their shoulders in rebuilding the system in the country, said Tuesday Emmanuel Garza, senior fellow at Mexico of Synergies.
The coronavirus left a global crisis, it is true, but a crisis always brings with it opportunities and this time is no exception. For SMEs there is a niche of opportunity, but they do not have financing support, one of the problems that this niche faces in Mexico.
“SMEs have a fundamental role in the reconstruction and regeneration of the economic, social and, finally, the environmental system on which we all depend and if we do not understand it, we would be losing the mother of all battles,” Garza said during his speech. participation in the SMEs panel: the future of Mexico at the Expansión Summit.
The director of Sinergos in Mexico added that small and medium-sized companies are a “bridge” for the economic development of sectors of the population that are depressed.
SMEs provide more than 70% of the jobs in Mexico and more than half of the GDP, hence the importance of the support of the government and society in general for the sector. He specified that there are cases like Israel and Finland that are “ecosystems where SMEs are engines of growth.”
Given the lack of financing from traditional banks, Bimbo Venture and Viwala are options for new projects to have access to capital.
“The corporations must play an increasingly important role for the ecosystem of SMEs in Mexico; not just look for them when we need suppliers, but play a role in their development needs”, said Constantino Matouk, global VP of Bimbo Venture.
He explained that Bimbo Venture approaches SMEs in Mexico and abroad, finds common ground, helps them develop and, sometimes, “we invest in these start-ups”, in a practice that adds value to entrepreneurs and corporate, “it’s a win-win”, particularly for those that have some kind of relationship with the value and supply chain, or data and analytics that allow a better understanding of Bimbo’s consumer.
In addition to the large corporations and venture capital funds, there are options like Viwala, which also supports entrepreneurship.
Viwala, together with the Swiss Cooperation, launched an emergency fund during the pandemic emergency to support Mexican SMEs with two objectives, offering credits with a rate of 9% to projects that met pre-established social and environmental impact goals. ; Also, with philanthropic money, they managed to lend larger amounts without collateral, said Victoria McInnes, Viwala’s director of operations.
In a world that is becoming more and more aware of sustainability, it is important to advance around an “ethics of care,” said Emmanuel Garza.
He specified that you need to take care of yourself, yes, but the relationship with others and with the natural environment is also important. “Companies have to conceive of ourselves as those platforms in which we are not only triggering and generating economic value, but we are also serving as the well-being of many interested parties,” he pointed out.
Small and medium-sized companies meet a series of characteristics that allow them to have many opportunities, as a result of the changes that have taken place, for example, in consumption habits.
According to Constantino Matouk, from Bimbo Venture, the agility and speed of response and development is what gives them these opportunities.
It is true that there are countercyclical sectors, which respond better to crises. But, there is still a long way to go in terms of technological transformation so that the sector becomes more resilient and scalable.
“An opportunity for traditional SMEs is that they have an increasingly social and environmental impact approach”, recommended the Viwala directive while specifying that this will not only allow access to cheaper money, but also to more clients.
However, the panelists agreed, a systemic vision must be given, where governments, companies and the rest of society contribute to this ecosystem.
Despite the area of opportunity, the crisis led many companies to adopt a “defensive” position, prioritizing cash flows, cutting expenses appropriately in the first phase. In a second stage, they rethought their business and adapted to the post-pandemic era, reconfiguring their value chain.
“SMEs are the ones who carry the flame of great hope for our country. That they maintain that perseverance, despite the adversities, to continue being a platform of well-being for their people, their communities and for the economic development of their respective communities”, concluded Emmanuel Garza.