In 2021 a program to help South African businesses navigate the economic fallout caused by the Covid-19 lockdowns was initiated. The program was duly named the Covid Business Rescue Assistance (COBRA) initiative. Its aim is to provide relief to local organisations that do not have access to qualifying business insurance.
On Tuesday, the initiative announced that it has helped 320 businesses stay afloat to date and has thus saved more than 2 000 jobs. The 320 businesses which have received direct aid from COBRA operate over a diverse range of sectors and include retail, automotive, and restaurant industries.
This announcement formed part of a statement that was released shortly after data from the national statistics agency indicated that the national economy contracted by seven percent in 2020, after expanding by 0.2 percent in 2019.
COBRA is currently SA’s fastest growing non-profit organisation for flailing businesses. The movement was created 12 months ago by management consultancy IQbusiness, law firm Schindlers Attorneys, turnaround experts Engaged Business Turnaround, and an additional 90 partner-enterprises.
“The success of the initiative shows that South Africa needs innovative solutions to save and bolster the businesses that have survived the economic ravages of the last year”, COBRA chief executive officer Adam Craker said.
Craker believes that South Africans will need to rethink business going forward, to avoid further economic distress.
The statement by COBRA was released in response to a plea from small and medium companies as they grapple with the impact of lockdown restrictions in an economy that was already suffering.
The success of COBRA is due to a combination of forethought and planning initiated by professionals in law, expert businessmen, and technology consultants, to name but a few.
“It is an effective and innovative answer to the question of how we can save both small and large businesses in a recession without government bailouts,” said Craker.
The COBRA program not only assists with monetary relief, but it also provides business owners and entrepreneurs access to free consultations and webinars. This way, businesses are encouraged to implement methods that will give new structure to their models and financial planning. They will be taught how to access unemployment insurance for employees, how to move onto digital platforms, and action their own processes for business rescue and business turnaround.