African SMEs’ Performance and Behaviors during COVID-19

Part 1: Rollo Africa Business Simulation

Rollo pilot started in August after designing the program. In September, we trained the local implementing hubs. The recruitment started in October followed by interviews and shortlisting in November. The implementation of phase 1 was in December followed by phase 2 in January 2021 as the following: 1- Campaign and applications The recruitment started with an online application form that was available for candidates in dual languages: English and French in the time period from 15 October 2020 till 10 November 2020. We had a total of 15,000 total pageviews and engagement coming from diferent social media platforms, emails, SMS, instant messaging, and word of mouth. We received 1470 applicants /490 teams from 5 countries presenting the 5 diferent regions divided as follows: Cameroon, Egypt, Zimbabwe, Senegal and Sudan.

Figure 1.2: Campaign and recruitment

Each local implementing partner has designed diferent communications and recruitment strategies for the 3-4 weeks with a clear head start from Zimbabwe indicating avidity in such programs for SMEs. Egyptian businesses showed less interest compared to the other countries as Egypt might be more saturated with SMEs and Startups support programs. Other enterprises outside the 5 pilot countries showed interest like Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa and Ghana. Generally, we had 36,3% applications from Zimbabwe, followed by Sudan 19,6%, 17,1% Cameroon, 15,9% from Senegal and 11% from Egypt.

2- Team structure and diversity

African businesses who applied showed wide diverse profles, backgrounds and stages to address the simulation requirements as the following:

- 297 (60%) formal businesses applied against 193 (40%) Non-formal businesses.


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