By Luca Urban Jähnel
Yes - We are all in this together. Unprecedented times have become our everyday companion. While this pandemic might have moved courses online and reduced bar gatherings for us students - it has more strikingly unleashed an earnest survival question for the lovely coffee shop we used to go by every day or the small restaurant opened by our neighbour.
Today, we have Luca, member of our Social Responsibility Committee, sharing actionable tips with us on how we can approach this issue by acting today, seeing results tomorrow, and jointly building a supportive world.
1. SMEs & Implications of the COVID-19 Epidemic (A Glimpse)
2. 4 Ways — How to show support
3. Good Citizen Card
Local businesses add colour, innovation, and personality to a global economy that’s become more uniform than ever before. (See this Article)
Just imagine Rotterdam without any small local stores, art galleries, cafes, boutique stores and restaurants. A life without independent artists, journalists, photographers, and designers… you name it. How would Kralingen or the city-centre look like?
An environment which is already characterised by commercialisation and capitalisation (as always good and bad) a lot of people still admire the wide range of options and variety. From specialty items, your daily barista coffee to everyday groceries, the diversity of local businesses adds personality to our world and especially to Rotterdam. As a customer yourself, you can support the businesses that bring that variety and make our city unique.
SMEs & Implications of the Epidemic (A Glimpse)
To give you an idea, as defined by the European Commission the Netherlands had around ~1,19 M SMEs in 2019 wherefrom around ~1,1 M are micro firms (0–9 employees) and ~40 K can be considered small firms (10–49 persons). The micro firms alone create a value of 78 Bn. € which account for 20,8% of the Dutch GDP. (See statistic below).
As one can see, by contributing 78 Bn. € to the total Dutch GDP, micro firms depict a significant lever for the Dutch economy. However, exactly those companies, with less than 10 employees on their payroll, are currently in significant danger of potential insolvency due to the effects of COVID-19. Especially, those businesses within the tourism & travel and retail might encounter severe profitability and liquidity impacts. (See Slide below).
Key Point of Concern: Short-Term Liquidity
One of the key concerns of Small Business Owners is the needed availability of cash to pay the ongoing overhead costs. Costs like rent, payroll, and utilities etc. leave very little liquid funds to owners plus add the lack of revenue from slowing services, declining revenues and the newly required benefits stemming from the pandemic, can really have a devastating impact on our entrepreneurs.
What to do?
In order to combat this (hopefully) short-term challenge, the key for survival is to identify feasible quick-wins in decreasing overall costs and to secure immediate liquidity to ultimately keep the business solvent. All countries just as the EU are currently creating a monetary aid package of billions and billions of € to prevent a next big wave of bankruptcy. If not already announced.
(For further content check out this HBR Article).
4 Ways — How you can show support
1. Reschedule instead of cancelling
Reschedule instead of cancelling your planned reservations or tickets you purchased.
2. Ask restaurants for meal kits or home-delivery
Even though some restaurants/ cafes etc. might not be on popular delivery apps contact them and ask if they provide the option of meal-kits pick up or even home delivery.
3. Don’t ask for refunds
For now at least... Yes, this might not be feasible for everyone but as stressed before especially for micro firms, short-term liquidity is their key concern for now. Thus, see it as sunk costs.
4. Buy fresh and from a small store
Next time you think of buying your fresh vegetables, fruits, meat, fish etc. go to a local, small and specialised store, they will thank you.
Good Citizen Card (GCC)
Also, our 9 different GCC Partners (List Below) in Rotterdam focusing on providing healthy and sustainable nutrition for everyone suffer substantially under the current circumstances.
If you are craving for great sustainable (vegan/ vegetarian) food visit their stores in Rotterdam or contact them for possible delivery/ pickup options.
Our sustainable partners: https://www.cemsclub.nl/our-partners
Check out our homepage for more information about our GCC initiative.
Thank you for taking the time and reading this short post. Let's do our best to support the small businesses, cafes, restaurants etc. in Rotterdam as they depict a key part of the city’s culture and environment.
Show support, stay healthy, stay safe and of course stay home!
Peace out, LUJ