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Survey sheds light on coronavirus-restricted SMBs

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Ly Ly Food Industry has also faced an extremely difficult business environment strained by cash flow issues but it has not reduced its number of employees. POST STAFF

Survey sheds light on coronavirus-restricted SMBs

Cambodian small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) have recorded lower sales during the pandemic while 39 per cent of them have trimmed down their staff, a Facebook survey found.

Among the business owners in Cambodia who responded, the State of Small Businesses survey found that 52 per cent said they remained positive in their outlooks despite cash flow problems presented by the pandemic.

The survey was conducted from May 28-31 and was published on Tuesday as part of Facebook’s partnership with the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the World Bank.

At least 222 respondents, all of whom were administrators of an active Facebook business page in Cambodia, voluntarily shared their views.

The survey was part of a bigger research report analysing SMBs across 50 countries and regions, including Cambodia, to capture the economic impact of Covid-19 and adjustments made to cope with the crisis.

The report’s objective was to amplify the voice of SMBs and assess their situation, the survey’s Facebook page said.

Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg said in an introduction to the survey report: “Small businesses are the heart of our communities – and they are the unsung heroes of the global economy.

“From coffee shops, bookstores and restaurants to plumbers, wedding planners and graphic designers, small businesses create jobs and growth in every country, 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.”

Ly Ly Food Industry Co Ltd CEO Keo Mom told The Post that most SMBs were hit hard by the Covid-19 outbreak. “My company’s sales declined during the Covid-19 outbreak.”

She added that her company has also faced an extremely difficult business environment strained by cash flow issues but it has not reduced its number of employees.

The survey added that the tourism and hospitality sectors have been most affected by Covid-19-related restrictions which have also caused a reduction in consumer spending.

About half of the businesses in the sectors globally reported that they had closed, it said. The smallest businesses (those owned and operated by one person) have closed at a greater rate than others, which has exposed a stark gender disparity.

Female-led businesses are more likely (four per cent more likely in Cambodia) to close compared to male-led ones. They are also significantly more likely to be concentrated in sectors most affected by restrictions on business.

Despite the challenges, SMBs in Cambodia have worked hard to adapt to new economic and social realities, with many turning increasingly to digital platforms to help sustain sales.

Forty-one per cent of operational Cambodian SMBs on Facebook said online sales have made up 25 per cent or more of their recent revenue, the survey said.

Sandberg added: “Entrepreneurs are resilient people, and the report shows that many remain optimistic about the future … The path to recovery is uncertain and many may need support from governments or other institutions to get back on track.

“We hope this report will help identify areas where that support can make the biggest difference. These are tough times for businesses all over the world, but Facebook is determined to do all we can to help them make it through.”

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