Celebrating the U.N.’s Micro-, Small, and Medium-sized Enterprise Day: Zoom Helps Small Businesses Adapt and Grow
In partnership with the International Trade Centre, the joint agency of the World Trade Organization and the United Nations, Zoom is celebrating Micro-, Small, and Medium-sized Enterprise (MSME) Day by reflecting on the inspiring and innovative ways that small businesses around the world have adapted to unforeseen circumstances and continue to play a crucial role in improving people’s lives.
In 2017, the United Nations General Assembly established MSME Day to raise public awareness of small businesses’ contribution to sustainable development and the global economy.
According to the International Trade Centre (ITC), small businesses account for over 70% of all jobs worldwide and two-thirds of private sector employment, often providing opportunities for certain groups such as women, young people, refugees and migrants, and under-resourced communities.
In order to maintain their businesses during a period of rapid change, small business owners have utilized Zoom to evolve their operations and transition to a virtual environment to connect seamlessly with customers and their workforce. Small business owners have been able to grow their customer base, maximize their profits, and ultimately become more resilient.
Let’s dive into their stories.
Enabling small businesses to survive and thrive
KAEME (Ghana): Freda Obeng-Ampofo is the owner and founder of the natural cosmetics brand KAEME based in Accra, Ghana. In 2020, Obeng-Ampofo started using Zoom to hold weekly meetings with her team, an essential part of running her business. Now, KAEME uses the platform to engage directly with customers.
Omelhordesampa (Brazil): Olavo Medeiros is a tour guide in his hometown of São Paulo, Brazil. He provides tips on leisure, gastronomy, and culture through his tour guiding business called @omelhordesampa on Instagram or “The Best of Sampa.” While he’s in a traditionally in-person profession, Medeiros discovered he could use Zoom to expand his clientele to include elderly people with mobility impairment, who would otherwise not be able to participate in his tours.
“Sixteen months have passed and I’m still here, doing the work I love, transmitting culture through internet waves, importantly without putting anyone’s life at risk. Even when it’s safe to return to the streets, I will continue to conduct virtual tours on Zoom. Because of the ‘digital door’ that the platform allowed me to open, I learned that the connection and emotions that flow through it are real, powerful, and indescribable.”
Bobicraft (Vietnam): Thuy Nguyen is the owner and founder of Bobicraft based in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Bobicraft specializes in producing handmade stuffed animals and baby accessories in addition to employing women and persons with disabilities, who comprise 98% and 25% of the staff, respectively. Bobicraft now uses Zoom to conduct interviews, hire staff members, and easily engage with customers.
Orahi (Uganda): Orahi is a trading platform that connects wholesalers and retailers with the factories and importers that supply them with the goods they sell.
“We used Zoom to hold meetings regularly with our board to help us assess the different areas we could pivot to, share lessons learned from our first product and our first year in the market, keep team morale going, share ideas, and organize our work schedules to make sure we all delivered our targets.”
Thanks to Zoom, Orahi was able to plan its next big pivot, allowing the team to quickly execute their new business plans ahead of schedule.
Achiote (Guatemala): Ana Sophia Reyes is the co-founder of Achiote Guatemalan Goods, a small business that promotes the rich Mayan talent and tradition of hand weaving while improving the living conditions of weavers from indigenous communities, especially women. Reyes and her team now use Zoom to participate in meetings with customers and suppliers. The video aspect allows for increased creativity, which is particularly useful for conversations focused on new designs and product ideas.
Cerveja nas entrelinhas (Brazil): Bia Amorim is a beer sommelier from Ribeirão Preto, Brazil, who has been working in the craft beer industry for the past ten years, conducting classes across the country through her small business Cerveja nas entrelinhas or “Beer between the lines.” She learned how to adapt her beer tastings to a virtual environment using Zoom and reached far more people than she had ever before.
“I used to do tastings with small groups of 20 to 30 people and now I can comfortably put more than 150 on the same screen. In addition to being able, at the same time, to have people from North to South, in a continental country like Brazil.”
Weblankan (Sri Lanka): Achini Perera is the co-founder of Weblankan, a web designing, development, and digital marketing company based in Colombo, Sri Lanka that provides digital solutions to clients around the world. Perera chose Zoom for its user-friendly experience.
In a year that’s been especially challenging for small businesses, we’re glad to be able to come together to celebrate the resiliency and tenacity of small business owners around the world. We look forward to continuing to support small business owners as they move forward in the next phase of work.
To learn more about the ways in which you can support small businesses becoming more competitive, resilient, and eco-friendly, please read the International Trade Centre’s flagship annual report, SME Competitiveness Outlook 2021. And to discover other cool ways our customers are using Zoom, check out these additional customer stories on our blog.