Countries around the world are reeling from the economic impacts of the Coronavirus outbreak. More than 50 nations, including Pakistan are under complete lockdown to enforce social distancing practices and prevent the spread of the virus.

These measures, however, have caused the economy to slow down. Businesses are shut, normal operational cycles have been disrupted and various institutions are assessing future steps for financial feasibilities.

Although Pakistan has done a lot to curtail the pandemic before it turns into a massive problem, there is uncertainty in the air. With no concrete duration in sight for how long the lockdown may persist, many organizations are facing unique challenges. Companies around the world like Boeing, Primark, Air Canada and Marriott International are amongst the ones who have already announced plans to lay offs thousands of employees.

If the current state were to persist, Pakistani companies will have similar decisions to make and this has put a shadow of doubt over the future of many employees. The government at present is doing a lot to minimize these prospects with the Prime Minister himself, actively involved in strategic planning to secure businesses and their operations. Despite these steps, many individuals are considering alternate options with startups being one of the most viable option.

Economic conditions are slow but they are bound to bounce back in a few months. While major organizations will see downsizing, the Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) sector is going to rise better than before. With lending and well as regulatory relaxations in place, banks are readily providing loans to SMEs making it simple to start a new business. The fields of technology, ecommerce, small-scale manufacturing and retail, all hold promising returns in the times to come.

Startups and SMEs in Pakistan have been making international headlines raising millions of dollars in various rounds of funding. Many of these organizations make use of SME financing facilities offered by financial institutions like JS Bank which recently won the Asiamoney Award for the ‘Best Bank for SMEs.’ Pakistan recently jumped 28 places on the World Bank’s  Ease of Doing Business Index thanks to initiatives on both public as well as private levels and as we emerge from the present crisis, SMEs are believed to show resounding growth making them a lucrative option today.  

Author : Ammar Muzaffer