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After COVID, Belgian Small Business Began to Bloom | Isabelle Nijs | GZERO Media

After COVID, Belgian small business began to bloom

Isabelle Nijs runs a hair salon in Begijnendijk, Belgium, about an hour’s drive to the northeast of Brussels. Nijs struggled to keep her business going through the pandemic during lockdowns and the lack of customers that brought. Rents and insurance premiums continued going up, but she didn’t get any financial support to meet the rising costs. Now, with people coming out of COVID restrictions, her business has begun to bloom … only to be impacted yet again, this time by the war in Ukraine. Now, she’s also dealing with supply chain issues, with prices going up and quality going down, not to mention long wait times.

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Waiting for Foot Traffic to Return in Tokyo | Small Business Owner Shizuka Takahashi

Waiting for foot traffic to return in Tokyo

Shizuka Takahashi wants Tokyo’s foot traffic to return. Having face-to-face interactions with her customers means everything to her — in fact, the desire to interact with people is why she opened her Tokyo shop, PuRe Juice Bar. She got the idea while living in New York City, where people know and love smoothies. In Tokyo, however, the juice culture is less common. Takahashi opened in 2019 only to be hit by reduced sales as a result of COVID-19. By learning to market herself throughout the pandemic, and with government aid, she’s been able to keep her company afloat. Now she’s looking forward to helping her Japanese customers get hooked on healthy juice drinks.

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COVID's Lessons About Humanity | Annabelle Santos, Small Business Owner

COVID's lessons on humanity for Annabelle Santos, small business owner

Inspiration struck Annabelle Santos when she struggled to find any products that could help soothe her baby girl’s eczema. Having grown up around plants and flowers, and with a background in biochemistry, Santos set out to make her own formula to help her daughter. Now she brings her mixtures of fruits, olive oils, and herbs to customers through her company, Spadét, which she founded in 2014. For years, she worked on her products from her home kitchen in New York City. Then, just before the pandemic hit, she got her big break: product placement in the whole northeast region of Whole Foods. In fact, her products shipped out to the stores just a week before lockdown. The pandemic was really tough on her business, but grants helped her keep afloat, and she’s looking forward to meeting with and healing customers now that restrictions have lifted.

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Want Small Businesses to Succeed? Enable Them As Problem-Solvers | GZERO Media

Want small businesses to succeed? Enable them as problem-solvers

After the 2008/2009 Great Recession, it took a decade for US small businesses to really start growing. But only about four months after COVID hit. Why?

Tom Sullivan, VP for VP of Small Business Policy at the US Chamber of Commerce, gave two reasons during a livestream conversation on small businesses and post-pandemic recovery hosted by GZERO Media in partnership with Visa.

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Should Small Businesses Embrace Public-Private Partners? | GZERO Media

Should small businesses embrace public-private partners?

Definitely, says Kiva CEO Chris Tsakalakis.

"No one individual or one group can fund what needs to get done in order to support these businesses," he says during a livestream conversation on small businesses and pandemic recovery hosted by GZERO Media in partnership with Visa.

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Visa’s Jeni Mundy: Digitizing Will Help Small Businesses “Thrive” After COVID | GZERO Media

Visa's Jeni Mundy: Digitizing will help small businesses "thrive" after COVID

Digitalization helped small businesses survive through the pandemic. Now, it'll make them "thrive," according to Jeni Mundy, Visa's global SVP for Merchant Sales & Acquiring.

She's upbeat about the future. "Small businesses are feeling optimistic ... so [there are] reasons to feel positive," Mundy says during a livestream conversation on small businesses and pandemic recovery hosted by GZERO Media in partnership with Visa.

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How Can Small Businesses Thrive After COVID? | GZERO Media

How can small businesses thrive after COVID?

Two years ago, life as we knew it came to a halt. COVID-induced lockdowns and quarantines hit businesses hard, shuttering stores and restaurants on main streets around the globe.

Now, COVID restrictions have been lifted throughout much of the West. While many businesses that survived (or launched amid) the pandemic are equipped with the creative, innovative spirit that helped them weather 2020-2021, challenges remain.

GZERO Media, in partnership with Visa, hosted a livestream discussion with business experts to examine the consequences and possibilities emerging from COVID, and how micro, small, and medium-sized businesses can thrive. Participants included GZERO President Ian Bremmer, Visa’s Global SVP Merchant Sales & Acquiring Jeni Mundy, US Chamber of Commerce’s Tom Sullivan, Kiva CEO Chris Tsakalakis, and SMEunited’s Veronique Willems. JJ Ramberg, the co-founder of Goodpods and former host of MSNBC’s Your Business, moderated.

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European Small Biz Owners Impacted by Ukraine War and COVID, Says Industry Expert | GZERO Media

European small biz owners impacted by Ukraine war and COVID, says head of industry group

What's the outlook for European small businesses these days?

Not as good as SME owners would like, according to Véronique Willems, secretary general of SMEUnited, an organization representing some 22.5 million European small businesses that employ almost 82.4 million people across 30 European countries.

In recent months, European SMEs have been hit by the double whammy of COVID spikes due to the omicron variant and now higher energy prices due to Russia's war in Ukraine, Willems explains during a livestream conversation on small businesses and pandemic recovery hosted by GZERO Media in partnership with Visa.

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