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Mastercard provides educational resource centre for SMEs

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Mastercard Academy has rolled out an online educational platform for small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs).

Known as The Entrepreneur’s Odyssey, the platform offers a self-paced curriculum that includes online lessons across 21 modules, featuring curriculum pathways such as design, management and growth.

The platform also features 28 videos of approximately 20 to 30 minutes recorded by professors from Harvard Business School,Wharton Business Schooland the Christensen Institute of Innovation. Additionally, there are videos from entrepreneurs, investors and Mastercard thought-leaders to teach the theory and practice of small business success.

According to Mastercard Academy, the education platform aims to empower small businesses with data insights and knowledge to run their enterprises more efficiently and securely.

“Small businesses are the backbone of local communities and an engine for the global economy,” says Michael Froman, vice-chairman and president of strategic growth at global payments engine Mastercard. “Because of this, it’s never been more important to ensure entrepreneurs and small business owners have access to educational resources, insights, tools and solutions to recover from the impacts of the pandemic and truly thrive.

“The Entrepreneur’s Odyssey is the latest in our Mastercard efforts to deliver on the needs of these critical businesses so they can design, launch, manage and grow their ventures.”

Harvard Business School professor Daniel Isenberg adds: “Every small business owner and start-up entrepreneur, particularly those with growth ambitions, should join The Entrepreneur’s Odyssey by Mastercard, a highly-compelling online educational programme. The Entrepreneur’s Odyssey will help start-up and SME owners upgrade their practices to use new tools to address rapidly-changing customer expectations.

“The Entrepreneur’s Odyssey provides highly-relevant entrepreneurship and management principles, and practical tools that anyone can apply to their businesses successfully.”

Small businesses across the globe have had a hard time as the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in closed shop doors and reduced foot traffic.

In the case of South Africa, the economy was already in the doldrums when the pandemic hit. The subsequent lockdowns saw many people lose their livelihoods, and companies, especially in the small business sector, struggle to stay afloat.

In the Mastercard SME Index, which surveyed 300 SMMEs between April and mid-May 2021, 84% of local small businesses said the pandemic negatively impacted their revenue, citing limited digital acumen as a hindrance to growth potential.

Soon after the world went into a lockdown, Mastercard announced a $250 million commitment over five years to support SMEs with digital tools and training during the pandemic.

Driss Belemlih, senior vice-president for customer delivery for Mastercard Middle East and Africa, states: “Small businesses need support to adapt. There’s often a knowledge gap, especially for smaller enterprises that have been operating in traditional ways until recently. That’s why Mastercard is offering this new set of educational tools to help guide and support small businesses through the pandemic, and beyond, into the recovery phase.

“By leveraging its technology, insights, global expertise and partnership approach, Mastercard aims to empower every business everywhere to grow digitally, become stronger than before, and prosper in a more connected, equal and inclusive world.”

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