We launched the NextGen Awards at the tail end of last year, before coronavirus first emerged in China and before terms such as “social distancing” and “flattening the curve” entered the lexicon. Our mission was to shine a spotlight on the next generation of ground-breaking, high-growth businesses.
Since then, coronavirus has spread to more than 190 countries around the world, with more than 1.5 million cases confirmed globally and over 88,000 deaths.
The impact on SMEs, particularly those in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors, has been devastating. According to analysts at the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR), the coronavirus pandemic could cause UK economic output to plunge by an unprecedented 15 per cent in the second quarter of the year and unemployment to more than double.