Global, Digital & Resilient

How digital tools are powering U.S. small businesses' global engagement amid COVID-19
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The pandemic has demonstrated the critical role of digital tools in mitigating the economic impact of COVID-19 and maximizing small businesses’ access to global markets to bolster their resilience.

 Digitally-Savvy SMBs are More Likely to Conduct Business Abroad

% of revenue from abroad by segment

Digital Drivers

The most digitally savvy, being early adopters and constantly deploying new technologies to drive their businesses forward

Digital Adopters

While fully embracing digital tools as important, have not deployed them to nearly the degree that Drivers have

Digital Maintainers

Are generally skeptical of digital transformation and use basic digital tools to maintain their current business

Small Business Case Studies

Kettlebell Kings

Austin, Texas


Miami, Florida

Shady Rays

Louisville, Kentucky

Deering Banjo

Spring Valley, California

Recommendations for Policymakers

Maximize Access to Digital Tools

Governments have an essential role to play in ensuring that digital trade policies enable the entire e-commerce ecosystem that empowers small businesses to prosper in the global marketplace. They should:

  • Commit to high-standard digital trade rules and enable non-discriminatory market access for services sectors critical for e-commerce including payments, logistics, and computer and related services;
  • Enact paperless procedures, automated systems, electronic data, e-payment and risk management processes to facilitate goods trade and contactless customs clearance;
  • Drive public-private partnerships to increase SMBs’ access to exporting technologies and digital market finder tools;
  • Fully resource trade promotion programs; and
  • Encourage the use of contactless technology solutions such as electronic receipt capture tools, electronic signatures, and e-payments.
Advance Equity for Women- and Minority-Owned Small Businesses

Governments also have an opportunity to establish a stronger and more inclusive global economy by maximizing the ability of digitally-enabled trade to support women, minority and underserved communities by:

  • Leveraging trade agreements to ensure commitments to gender and racial equity;
  • Facilitating access to capital, digital platforms and public-private partnerships;
  • Prioritizing the participation of women- and minority-owned businesses across government-led trade promotion programs, consultations and communities; and
  • Securing commitments from International Organizations for diversity in conference speakers.