10.00 AM - 11.30 AM
Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are the backbone of many economies throughout the world. They played vital role in employment generation, resource utilization, income generation and poverty alleviation. SMEs however, are said to be vulnerable in the face of external shocks often caused by global economic recession, climate change and global pandemic such as the COVID-19 pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic has had devastating impacts on SMEs as they are faced with value chain disruptions, funding withdrawals and severe trade contractions as a result of the crisis. SMEs have been disproportionally affected: since they often have limited access to finance and digital connectivity, they have been less able to adapt to market disruptions. Consequently, the unplanned and unprecedented crisis have also forced SMEs to adopt coping strategies to counter COVID-19 risks including digital marketing, business diversification, new networking and alternate supply chains. Furthermore, in the wake of the pandemic outbreak, many countries have also deployed impressive fiscal and monetary firepower in response to the crisis to mitigate the impact of the pandemic. Solomon Islands response strategy to the COVID-19 pandemic implemented anCOVID-19 economic stimulus package (ESP) that aims at protecting its citizens and its economy by providing cash grants, machineries/equipment, tax reliefs, soft loans etc. to affected businesses including SME firms. The COVID-19 ESPs are designed to support SMEs to produce, maintain sales and employment during the pandemic. The research is aimed at assessing the COVID-19 risks on SMEs, examining SME responses, coping strategies and assessing the government COVID-19 ESP on SMEs in Solomon Islands. A mixed method research method is proposed for the study. More specifically it will involve a sequential explanatory (QUAN-qual) approach. The outcomes may inform policy makers and other stakeholders of the COVID-19 risks in an island setting, responses and successes of coping strategies, and recovery packages that would effectively prepare and enhance SMEs resilience to respond to future global external shocks. New knowledge may be created and insights into coping strategies and the effectiveness of economic recovery packages on SMEs in island state contexts.
For more information, please email the Graduate Research School (GRS), or phone the GRS on 0746 31 1088 for the Zoom link