There is vast potential for millions of SMEs around the world to play a bigger role in supporting humanitarian efforts. Many of them have the interest and capabilities to take on such a role, but they lack a reliable and effective platform for facilitating their engagement with the humanitarian sector. Similarly, the existence of a strong and thriving SME sector – providing goods and services, creating jobs and stimulating local economic activity – can significantly boost the resilience of fragile communities around the world, yet few dedicated initiatives exist to support the growth and development of SMEs on this basis.
SMEs for Humanity (#SME4H) is a proposed new initiative that seeks to address these gaps in coordination through the creation of an online portal that could more effectively connect SMEs with other businesses and relevant stakeholders in the humanitarian ecosystem before, during and after a humanitarian crisis. #SME4H aims to formalise activities in order to ensure that SMEs can participate in humanitarian relief operations in a strategic, transparent and coordinated manner.
The #SME4H online portal would allow for humanitarian needs to be posted in real-time by national governments, international humanitarian and development aid agencies, NGOs, community organisations, faith-based groups, SMEs themselves and other relevant stakeholders before, during and after humanitarian crises.
SMEs would be encouraged to join the community and sign up at no cost to receive alerts when humanitarian needs are posted that are technically relevant and/or geographically close them.
As registered members of the community, SMEs would assess whether they have the resources, capabilities and willingness to contribute to addressing the humanitarian needs that have been posted through financial donations, in-kind assistance or the provision of goods and services on a commercial basis.