Peter Righi, Executive Director of CEED introduces CEED’s 2019 Impact Report, and why it matters now more than ever.
Dear CEED Community,
At the end of 2019, there was no way to predict that we would be witnessing the end of one era of living and working, and the beginning of another more historical period of challenge, adaptation, and change, especially for small and growing businesses.
Like many others, CEED’s community of entrepreneurs were severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Some companies experienced unprecedented demand due to COVID-19, and many others saw business screech to a halt. For every business, 2019 was and will be a critical benchmark. The resilience companies developed during that year directly translates into their ability to overcome the pandemic’s challenges in 2020 and beyond, and we are confident that CEED played an essential role in building this resilience.
During this current year and in response to COVID-19, CEED managed to seamlessly move its service delivery completely online. This included peer learning, one-on-one services, mentoring, and events to connect networks locally, regionally, and internationally. We quickly rolled out “CEED Global Leader’s Talks” for our members.
These talks were given by entrepreneurs from around the globe in places such as India, China, Italy, and the U.S. to give CEED members the most recent updates and lessons about operating a business during a crisis. They combined practical lessons about managing cash flow and obtaining lines of credit with advice to bolster the confidence of entrepreneurs who were facing rapidly changing market situations and tough choices.
We followed these global talks with local and regional B2B events to share examples in our geographies of companies that were adapting to the crisis to make it even more real and tangible (I.e. leveraging remote delivery, retooling skills, repurposing assets, redeploying staff, etc.) The feedback from our members indicates that the practical and actionable content was useful. The resiliency we aim to build in our entrepreneurs showed itself in CEED as well. We adapted and changed to meet the new needs and we will continue to do so going forward.
It is incredibly timely that 2019 is the scope of our first ever impact report because it will represent a reference point for every business, organization, and person that supports small and growing businesses for years to come.
We hope that our partners and colleagues in the small and growing business sector will read this report and take the time to get to know CEED and our approach to entrepreneurship development. You will find a willing partner that prioritizes entrepreneurial ecosystems, works toward market systems change and shares best practices.
We hope that entrepreneurs in our community will read this report and understand why CEED feels and acts like a family, why we believe you are the backbone of every thriving economy, and why we prioritize peer learning and connections. We hope you will read about the inspiring achievements of your fellow CEEDers and understand that you are a part of a global phenomenon. We hope you know that we are here for you and your business through good times and challenging ones.
I hope CEED Staff will read this report and feel proud of everything we helped accomplish in 2019. 2019 was a landmark year for CEED; our ten centers supported over 3,000 entrepreneurs and hosted over 500 community building and networking events. I hope that reflecting on the successes of 2019 emboldens them to push through the challenges of 2020 and beyond.
Make no mistake, there will continue to be serious challenges, but emerging market entrepreneurs are no strangers to obstacles. They have confronted hostile business climates, restricted access to finance, and many have faced discrimination based on gender, nationality, ethnicity, and other factors that have no determination on one’s ability to run a business.
Nevertheless, entrepreneurs have persevered, generated, and sustained businesses that give back to their communities. They have created jobs. Most importantly, they have proven that they can support young entrepreneurs in their community who hope to follow in their footsteps.
CEED aims to be the most valuable resource for entrepreneurs in their growth by developing sustainable local communities worldwide. In 2019, we made significant progress toward that goal. This progress will serve as a vital baseline as many companies look to get back to their previous levels of revenue and employment in a post-COVID-19 world.
Thank you for taking the opportunity to read CEED’s 2019 Impact Report and thank you for your continued support and partnership as we continue to serve emerging market entrepreneurs in the years to come.
Global Director of CEED