Small businesses are the unsung heroes of the global economy – creating
jobs and growth in every country and helping to reduce poverty and income
inequality. But they are facing the challenge of a lifetime. The COVID-19
pandemic isn’t just a public health emergency; it’s also an economic crisis
that is hitting small and medium-sized businesses exceptionally hard.

This is the first report in an ongoing series that will spotlight the situation facing businesses
around the world. It is based on a survey of more than 30,000 small business leaders from
more than 50 countries – and what they told us was sobering.
More than a quarter said they had closed between January and May this year – and that figure
rose to more than 50% in some countries. A third of those currently operating reported that
they had reduced their workforces, a worrying sign of what could be a lengthy jobs crisis.
Nearly two-thirds of those in operation say sales are down on the same period last year – in
many cases significantly so.

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