JOHANNESBURG - An initiative set up to help South African businesses cope with the economic fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic said on Tuesday it had helped 320 stay afloat, saving more than 2000 jobs.
The Covid Business Rescue Assistance (COBRA) initiative released its statement a week after data from the national statistics agency showed South Africa’s economy contracted by seven percent in 2020 -- after edging up 0.2 percent in 2019 --as the health crisis took its toll.
The success of the initiative shows that South Africa needs innovative solutions to save and bolster the businesses that have survived the economic ravages of the last year, COBRA chief executive officer Adam Craker said.
“These solutions will require a fundamental rethink of how South Africans do business,” he added.
Craker said COBRA, South Africa’s largest non-profit organisation for distressed businesses, was started a year ago by management consultancy IQbusiness, law firm Schindlers Attorneys, turnaround experts Engaged Business Turnaround and an ecosystem of 90 partner enterprises.
This was in response to the need to support small and medium companies as they grappled with the impact of the pandemic against the backdrop of an already ailing economy.
The more than 320 businesses which have received direct assistance operate across a diverse range of sectors, including the retail, automotive and restaurant industries.
The initiative’s virtual ‘war room’ brings together the expertise of professionals in law, business, technology and consulting to assist businesses in financial distress.
“It is an effective and innovative answer to the question of how we can save both small and large businesses in a recession without government bailouts,” said Craker.
COBRA also offers businesses and entrepreneurs free consultations and webinars that cover restructuring and refinancing, accessing unemployment insurance for staff, moving onto digital platforms as well as business rescue and business turnaround.
“Thousands more businesses and jobs can be saved by sharing knowledge, skills and expertise with distressed businesses that are navigating an uncertain future in an increasingly constrained economy,” Craker said.
African News Agency