How small businesses are coping with the impact of COVID-19

Results from a survey in Turkey and the Middle East

by Stijn Hoorens, Lucy Hocking, Clement Fays

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Research Questions

  1. What are the economic effects of COVID-19 on SMEs in the Middle East and Turkey?
  2. What measures have SMEs in the Middle East and Turkey had to take to protect their business during the pandemic?
  3. What support do SME owners in the Middle East and Turkey need to keep their businesses going during and after the pandemic?

SPARK, an NGO supporting young people's access to education and employment, commissioned RAND Europe to conduct a survey to understand the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the Middle East and Turkey. It also explored what support SMEs need to survive the pandemic.

Key Findings

  • 79% of SMEs surveyed in the MENA region and Turkey indicate that the overall impact on their company has been negative.
  • Over half of those surveyed believe their companies would not survive more than four months and 85% believe they would not survive more than a year without support.
  • More than half of SME owners surveyed have reduced their own salary or scaled back on services (56%). Nearly half (47%) have had to lay off staff temporarily, request a payment suspension and/or reduce or stop wages for staff.
  • One in six respondents indicated that COVID-19 has had a positive impact on their business, and over one quarter see opportunities to expand their business.
  • Nearly all SME owners indicated they would need some form of support to protect their business. A large majority (80%) felt they would need financial grants.

Research conducted by

The research described in this report was commissioned by the Dutch non-governmental organisation SPARK and conducted by RAND Europe.

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