Young and ambitious entrepreneurs around the world appreciate regular coaching from peers and experts. Now that Covid-19 has made face-to-face contact impossible, online coaching has priority. How do you best transition to online coaching and mentoring or expand it? What are the mentoring needs of SMEs to cope with this crisis?

In order to survive, SMEs need support, especially in fragile settings. The impact on turnover and working capital will be heavy, all recent reports make this clear. And the risks are high of missed payments to lenders, markets disappearing, difficulties in exporting products, and losses of skilled workers to COVID-19. Still, SMEs in some sectors are still operating: agri-food, pharmaceutical, digital innovation. How to support these SMEs? To ensure continuing access to financing for them?

Rebuilding Futures is an online conference organized by Al-Fanar Media and SPARK on how to best support students and entrepreneurs in the MENA region during and after the COVID-19 crisis.

On May 13 & 14, Rebuilding Futures focused on online education. Many see this COVID-19 crisis as the chance to enhance online education and take advantage of the interactivity and tracking of student learning, possible in the digital space. Experts, schools, online providers, students and many more shared lessons learned on moving education online rapidly.

On May 20 & 21, the conference looked at the challenges for startups and SMEs in fragile states during crisis. Access to labour, supply chains, transportation and logistics are disrupted. Also, entrepreneurs face a sudden loss of clients, cancellation of orders, and a severe shortage of liquidity. Now they are racing to adjust to the new situation. How can local and international organizations best support entrepreneurs to adjust to this crisis?

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