Micro-, small and medium enterprises (MSME) are prominent in sectors affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. MSME in the energy efficiency and renewable energy sectors were implementing innovative, circular, green and sustainable initiatives before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, so they are well-placed to contribute to the post-COVID-19 recovery. However, on both the supply and demand sides MSME have been severely affected by the pandemic. The effect on MSME is especially severe due to higher levels of vulnerability and lower resilience. Due to low level of digitalization and difficulties in accessing and adopting new technologies, the costs of prevention and change in work processes may be relatively higher for MSME given their smaller size. Additionally, MSME may find it hard to obtain information on COVID-19 prevention, possible business strategies to mitigate the effects, and available government support programmes.
The role of MSME in delivering energy-efficient products and in providing renewable energy equipment can become crucial in the post-COVID-19 recovery phase if they are provided with necessary incentives. This can be one of the ways to restart MSME or even to create new ones when job opportunities are scarce. MSME can benefit from clear guidelines on access to financing, access to markets, access to advanced technologies, and a favorable environment created by proper government policies and legislation. They can also benefit from concrete examples of successful implementation of relevant measures, including repurposing that led to significant economic gains. In return, MSME can become engines for post-crisis economic recovery, creating job opportunities and leading socially responsible and environmentally sound economic development thus helping achievement of numerous sustainable development goals.
This publication assesses the business environment that MSME in clean energy face as a result of the pandemic, presents examples of best practices related to crisis response and post-crisis recovery, offers practical measures to help businesses access markets, financing, and advanced technologies, and provides recommendations for policy guidelines to help countries move beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.