Fast Facts

Small Business Resilience

1 April 2021
Floriana Borino, International Trade Centre

How do firms cope with the COVID-19 crisis?

Globally, the two most common strategies for businesses to cope with the COVID-19 crisis have been to reduce working hours temporarily and teleworking.

However, the pandemic showed that selling online and creating new products are the two most successful strategies for small businesses in remaining resilient.

Increased sales

Africa is the region with most firms starting to sell online (30% of firms) compared to 18% in Asia,
20% in Europe
and 28% in Americas.

20% of firms in developed countries created new products, compared to only 13% of firms in developing countries.

Recommendations to policymakers:


1. Improved youth skills and innovation as well as financial support promote the export capacity of small businesses.

2. Invest in skills and innovation.




ITC calculations based on ITC COVID-19 Business Impact Survey, with data collected between April and August 2020, from 4694 companies in 136 countries.


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