The Need of the Hour Amid COVID-19

The Need of the Hour Amid COVID-19

April 2, 2020

As we, at Yunus Social Business, are tracking and seeing the devastating effect of the Covid-19 virus in the countries where we work, live and hail from, we have been wondering what are the best ways to use our assets.

The Corona pandemic will hit particularly hard the developing countries with harsh sanitary, social and economic consequences for their populations. The healthcare systems do not have the capabilities to address such a crisis while governments are unable to offer the social and economic policies to protect the most vulnerable individuals.

Hence we  fiercely believe in the potential of existing solutions created by social entrepreneurs to prevent the Bottom of the Pyramid from the direct or indirect impact of Covid-19. Supporting the leaders who are racing to build new solutions, we aim to safeguard and accelerate the existing ones.

In addition to the action of social entrepreneurs, we stand by our claim that corporations should better understand, articulate, and act on their purpose. Now is the time to do so in the most meaningful way, by leveraging their assets and resources to contribute to solving the challenges we face as a global, connected humanity — challenges that are so vast & complex, no one can solve them on their own.

Tapping into our resources and love for networks, we are developing the 2 distinct responses :

  1. To support corporates to use their assets : A database of Covid19 challenges  and existing solutions to those challenges
  2. To support social entrepreneurs globally: A Covid Rapid Response Fund with fellow investors and Development agencies

A database of Covid-19 challenges

Bear in mind that this is a mere crowdsourced attempt at mapping issues & solutions, and that we’re very much looking forward to any contribution! Instructions to use the airtable, please click on Block to see image.


If you are an inspired individual working with a Corporate, and seeking ways of using your assets to meet society's needs, very excited to have you here!

On this Airtable you will find :

  1. Challenges : You will find 64 individual challenges, broadly focussing on the challenges we have collated from different Geographies, mostly via our own YSB network
  2. Descriptions : Our understanding of these challenges, to ensure the reader and creators are on the same page
  3. Solutions : Creative first MVP of solutions that the local community can envision, and already existing solutions that are being implemented by Social Entrepreneurs
  4. Country : Where our teams did research around these problems. This list is not exhaustive, the Challenges could exist in multiple countries
  5. Category : Which area does this challenge have the biggest impact on
  6. Sector Support : Out of our research on the challenges, which sector has the asset to provide assistance on this challenges

Next Steps

If you recognise any of these challenges and would like to work towards finding solutions to them, please reach out to  arunima.singh@yunussb.comIn our years of work with Social Entrepreneurs, we have the privilege of knowing Entrepreneurs who are actively working towards solving each and every one of the listed challenges. We would be happy to connect you and think of ways of scaling these solutions. Why aren’t we sharing that publicly? Because despite the crisis, we still value data privacy (& entrepreneurs’ resources) :)


If you are one of the inspiring Social Entrepreneurs we continuously rave about, HELLO!  Stay strong and inspired, we need you more than ever.

If you are solving any of the challenges mentioned in the list, please reach out to us at We would love to hear from you, and see where we can join forces.

In the meantime, please also have a look at Duke’s Catherine Clark’s extensive list which gives details of the $363 billion worth of support for entrepreneurs around the world.

COVID Rapid Response Fund

From Yunus Social Business’s side, we are all hands on deck to ensure the social entrepreneurs and experts who are solving these challenges find the right support and partners.

We see the need for developing a rapid response mechanism through a sector alliance to benefit social businesses and social entrepreneurs across the world. Such an alliance of sector organizations and funding partners can efficiently organize emergency financial relief to social businesses and social enterprises.

We expect such relief to emulate government action for financial emergency aid in the Global North. While we see an immediate need for rapid deployment of grants to secure short-term liquidity, we also imagine the deployment of other vehicles in a second phase.

Why this matters: Close Ranks to Weather this Crisis

  • Be part of a coalition: Mobilize more capital by acting as a coalition of sector partners instead of individually reacting to issues on the ground
  • Coordinated response approach: Current action is uncoordinated and likely to fall short of the impact it is trying to achieve due to inconsistent deployment criteria and/or low funding volumes.
  • Access to a network of trusted social businesses: Deploy much-needed capital quickly through organizations that are trusted by funders.

Our portfolio social business RangSutra’s tailors in Bikaner are normally making beautiful home textiles and clothes. Now they are working on masks and have already made 32,000!

We therefore call on philanthropists, foundations, impact investors, corporate foundations and other social sector organisations to unite in supporting social businesses through this Covid-19 crisis.

If you are interested in supporting the Response Fund please reach out to

I hope our MVP’s and thoughts sow the seeds of inspiration and impact we need at the moment. Forward and upward!

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