A version of this article was originally posted on the SME Response Clinic

As Rwanda faces an uptick in COVID-19 infections and the government mandates new measures aimed at preventing a third wave, the SME Response Clinic wants to take a moment to recognize the challenges you face as a small business owner. Entrepreneurs like you have come so far in navigating the unchartered waters of a truly unprecedented health and economic crisis, but new developments indicate that there is further yet to go.

Micro-, small- and medium-enterprises (MSMEs) make up 97% of businesses in the country, contributing to 55% of total GDP and employing over 40% of Rwanda’s population (Microsave Report, 2017). The start and stop of operations for many if not most businesses over the past year and a half has had a tremendous impact on the economy but also importantly on the financial health of individual entrepreneurs like you and, importantly, your families. In addition to and often caused by the significant negative economic impact resulting from the pandemic, we are all struggling with challenges that affect our wellbeing. Increased levels of stress and anxiety make our day-to-day even tougher. Studies of entrepreneurs in Rwanda (as well as globally) undertaken in recent months indicate that business owners are facing high levels of anxiety caused by uncertainty about the future.

This uncertainty is not surprising as you work to navigate new and rapidly evolving regulations, make changes to your business operations to work to stay afloat, and manage relationships with your suppliers and customers remotely rather than face-to-face. You do all of this while working to ensure your families are healthy and safe.

Since our launch in May 2020, the SME Response Clinic has sought to provide you with updates and tips relevant to managing your business through the various challenges that have arisen and continue to arise as a result of the pandemic. Now, we want to offer you the opportunity to also focus on yourself so that you can in turn better manage your business, positively impacting your family, your employees, and your community at large.

Over the next few months, we will be providing simple tools to support you in building business resilience. These will include short videos, articles, and audio recordings that you can use to manage stress and maintain a positive outlook in the months ahead.

Stay in touch with us at smeresponseclinic@gmail.com and remember to stay safe!