Ask the Expert: SME “business futures” in the aftermath of the Coronavirus crisis

This Social Market Foundation virtual Ask the Expert event, in partnership with UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), explored how small businesses have responded and adapted to the pandemic and how it will shape their practices in the future.

The Coronavirus pandemic has had a detrimental effect on the global economy, with national and local lockdowns resulting in many businesses’ trading practices changing to protect employees and customers. In the UK, SMEs (Small and medium-sized enterprises) currently make up 52% of the revenue generated by businesses, and account for three fifths of the country’s labour force. There has been a clear need for SMEs to adapt at speed to survive the crisis, which for many meant taking actions such as investing in new digital technologies. What are the short and long-term impacts of COVID-19 on small businesses and how will the crisis shape innovation in the future?

At this event we heard from the Enterprise Research Centre’s Dr Anastasia Ri and Dr Effie Kesidou who shared new data from the ERC’s ‘Business Futures’ project, a survey of 1000 UK SMEs exploring their attitudes and activities towards Net Zero targets and the uptake of digital technologies, and how these have been affected as a result of the Coronavirus crisis.


 Paul Scully MP, Minister for Small Business, Consumers & Labour Markets and MP for Sutton and Cheam

 Dr Anastasia Ri, Research Fellow, the Enterprise Research Centre and Aston Centre for Growth

Dr Effie Kesidou, Associate Professor in Applied Economics, Leeds University Business School and Senior Research Fellow, Enterprise Research Centre

 Simon Edmonds, Deputy Executive Chair and Chief Business Officer, Innovate UK

James Kirkup  James KirkupDirector, Social Market Foundation (Chair)

Our Ask the Expert series, in association with UK Research and Innovation, brings academic research on public policy into the heart of Westminster.

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